Can see email recipients CC

Emails to multiple recipients: what about data protection?

From: Bavarian State Office for Data Protection Supervision


Since it's quick and easy, e-mails are often sent to several recipients at the same time.

The recipient addresses are usually entered in the "To" field or the "CC" field (a copy).

Especially in the business environment or also in voluntary work z. B. for a club, however, this approach should be reconsidered because it data protection risks accompanied.

  • Why are multiple e-mail recipients in the To or CC field problematic?
  • Mail to multiple e-mail recipients: how do I do it right?

Why are multiple email recipients in the To or CC field problematic?

At Email address it is usually about personal data within the meaning of the Federal Data Protection Act (there are only a few exceptional cases).

Incidentally, this applies regardless of whether the email addresses are private or business.

Many users use their private e-mail address for several services, so that one can use one digital identity of the user can go out.

The processing and use of such personal data is only permitted by law with a legal basis or with the consent of the person concerned.

If the e-mail addresses are entered in the “To” field or the “CC” field, all recipients will see who the e-mail was sent to after sending this mail. H. by sending e-mails with an open distribution list the email addresses of all recipients are made known to all other recipients.

However, it can be assumed that not every recipient agrees that his or her email address will be disclosed to others.

Sending a collective e-mail to an open distribution list therefore constitutes an inadmissible transmission of personal data in these cases, which can also be punished with a fine.

By sending it with an open distribution list, it will also be Made even easier for so-called spammers or fraudsters, by intercepting or spying on such e-mails, to obtain a large number of valid, i.e. also actually used, addresses. In view of this, too, open e-mail distribution lists should be avoided as far as possible.

How I make it right?

Only at Enter the e-mail addresses in the "BCC" field
(English: Blind Carbon Copy, in German analogously "Blindkopie")

the message is sent in such a way that none of the recipients can see who else this e-mail was sent to.

Use this option if you want to send a message to many recipients.

Photo credits: Fotolia - r2 studio

The Free State of Bavaria provides you with independent, science-based information on consumer protection on this website.
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