Nigel Metheringham edited this page Nov 30, 2012 · 3 revisions

Q5004

Question

I've recently noticed that emails I send with a Bcc: line are being delivered to their final destination with the Bcc: line still present.

Answer

Exim removes Bcc: lines only if you call it with the -t option (i.e. when it is acting partly as an MUA). It does not remove Bcc: lines that are present in incoming SMTP mail or command-line mail that does not use -t. Indeed, it should not remove them, because only the initiating software (i.e. the MUA) can tell what to do with Bcc: lines; any MTA software has to leave them alone. This is what RFC 2822 has to say about Bcc: The Bcc: *field (where the Bcc means Blind Carbon Copy ) contains addresses of recipients of the message whose addresses are not to be revealed to other recipients of the message.

There are three ways in which the Bcc: field is used. In the first case, when a message containing a Bcc: field is prepared to be sent, the Bcc: line is removed even though all of the recipients (including those specified in the Bcc: field) are sent a copy of the message.

In the second case, recipients specified in the To: and Cc: lines each are sent a copy of the message with the Bcc: line removed as above, but the recipients on the* Bcc: line get a separate copy of the message containing a Bcc: line. (When there are multiple recipient addresses in the Bcc: field, some implementations actually send a separate copy of the message to each recipient with a Bcc: containing only the address of that particular recipient.)

Finally, since a Bcc: field may contain no addresses, a Bcc: field can be sent without any addresses indicating to the recipients that blind copies were sent to someone. Which method to use with* Bcc: fields is implementation dependent, but refer to the Security Considerations section of this document for a discussion of each.


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