If I have to discuss financial, legal or medical subjects (or anything requiring privacy, or anything really) via email, can I refuse to do so if I don't trust the domain of the email of the other party?

The country is Belgium if that matters.

More details about my specific case: my ex-wife and I have seen a notary¹ recently regarding our divorce. We need to come to a financial arrangement, so we have to discuss this via e-mail with the notary in CC. I have a Gmail email account, the notary has a belnot² account and my ex-wife has her employer's email.

I trust quite much @gmail.com because, ok, maybe their automatic systems will read my emails to target advertising, but no one malicious could ever specifically open my email about my divorce to... to what? What could anyone from Google do with that?

I trust @belnot.be quite much too, just because I've seen so many notaries with such an email account. That may be a bad reason but if so many professionals use this service, and those profesionals deal with sensitive data, I hope it's not too bad privacy-wise.

But I don't trust @my-ex-wife-s-company.be. Her new husband work there too, it's a small company (it's not a company but a public administration but it is small and managed without a lot of financial means and not too many rules) and I don't really know who can access the mailboxes of everyone.

I'm sure that I would not send emails from my company email for personal information, but can I refuse to send emails to a recipient I don't trust?

Thank you.

¹ Not sure about the translation, it is a notaire in French.

² I'm not absolutely sure about who manages this domain (maybe something like the national federation of notaries if such thing exists, or something equivalent), but most notaries in Belgium have a @belnot.be email account.

  • 2
    Email is inherently insecure. You should assume it's insecure, unless you are providing your own strong encryption and then just using email to send the encrypted contents.
    – Makyen
    Apr 3, 2020 at 8:31
  • 2
    What are the circumstances where you would "have to" use e-mail, as opposed to physical post? Apr 3, 2020 at 9:28
  • And if you can use physical post, how do you mitigate the company leaving your physical correspondence on the break room table for all to see? Your concerns are not restricted to email by any means...
    – user28517
    Apr 4, 2020 at 2:10
  • 1
    Echoing the comment by @Makyen , email is inherently insecure. Unless you encrypt the contents, the administrator of any system you send it to has the ability to read it. You can't tell anything simply by the domain name. Many of those belnot.be email accounts may actually be going through Google Gmail. Google can configure your Gmail account to associate with multiple domain names. Apr 4, 2020 at 18:47

1 Answer 1


Communicate how you like

You are under no obligation to use any particular method of communication. If you don’t want to use email use the post. Or hand-deliver your messages (probably better to use a courier so it doesn’t look like stalking).

Of course, she is free to share anything and everything you send her with anyone she likes. Unlike the lawyer, she owes you no duty of confidentiality. I think you are naive if you don’t think she shows or at least tells her new partner what her ex-partner has sent.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .