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Tales from the Corporate Jungle: Big Brother Part 2

October 23, 2008

Does your company monitor your e-mails?

What if I told you that your company may not only be scanning your emails with automatic keyword search. It may also be keeping a copy of every email you sent and received since you joined, all burnt on CD for “future reference.”

And not only that. It may also be keeping a record of every website you ever visited on your company pc.

As companies wise up to IT, I know more of them are doing it. Worse, they don’t tell the employees that they’re being watched. I remember a case where a staff member became the butt of jokes in an IT department (the one managing the snooping) for a secret love affair he was having with an unpopular female colleague.

Yes, a company has the right to monitor its assets but on the other hand, what’s legal isn’t always ethical. Whether the privacy of the innocent deserves to be violated depends a lot on how the company views morals and ethics in the context of profit.

Most companies who conduct staff surveillance will say if you have no ill intent, then you have nothing to fear. Most however prefer to avoid the question whether those in charge of snooping are capable of ill-intention themselves, especially when confronted with the Youtube factor.

Pros: People are watchful of their actions.

Cons: People are watchful of their actions. The smarter ones use web mail, proxies and encryption to fool corporate filters. Or they just use their internet capable phones to do their thing.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 23, 2008 10:28 am

    Companies can detect what you surf and even what you chat in YM (if they want to). The sensitive issue will be when you go to banking site, are they monitoring too? I donno since I’m not from the IT Support team.

    Yes they’ll know if you went to a banking site. These sites normally encrypt your sessions so people can’t see your details. IMO the simplest way to get around company snoops is to bring your private notebook to work, hook it up to a private 3G account and do your YM or surfing in peace.

  2. October 23, 2008 11:22 am

    Most companies can’t spare the time or personnel spying on their staff. If nothing spicy happens that becomes public knowledge, nobody ever gets hauled up for ‘small’ trangressions like sending personal emails or surfing unlawful websites, etc. It’s only those who rile the upper levels and get on their nerves on ocassion that get scrutinised for such transgressions. I’ve had one such ex-colleague who was shown the door after his pc broke down and sent in for repairs. The IT guys found pornographic items in it. He was somethimes a pain in the neck of one of the top guys.

    If you’re ambitious and want to move up the ladder quickly, make sure you do the right things with the right guys, do things right, and keep your pc clean.

    “It’s only those who rile the upper levels and get on their nerves on ocassion that get scrutinised for such transgressions.”

    That is the sad reality isn’t it. It always starts off with a noble intention of keeping the company clean and ends up as a vindictive tool for a few in managament. Maybe its true what they say about power…

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