PRIVACY AT WORK
Telephones and voice mail:
The company you work for owns the telephones, so they have the right to monitor your phone converstations, the
numbers you call, and the length of time of the call. This includes cellphones, fax machines, and pagers issued to you.
Fax messages can be recorded on tape and played back to a similar fax machine to 'print out' what you sent or recieved.
Voice Mail is also the property of the company, so they can be listened to. When you delete voice mail it is likely
still on a computer or tape somewhere. Legally the employer is supposed to tell you of this monitoring when you get the
job. Also the telephone monitoring needs consent of one person in the converstation, hence the prerecorded messages the caller hears
"This call maybe monitored for quality purposes.."
Computers and E-mail:
It is NOT possible for employees to determine if their computing activities are being monitored. Keyloggers,Back Orifices, and password crackers
can be used against you. They can see what is on your screen and in your files. After all, its THEIR computer and network. Employers can also use devious
programs to take over video cameras and microphones installed on your computer! Unplugging those devices could be a violation in the employee's handbook.
Your performance can be monitored by programs that count keystrokes per hour or the length of time your computer is idle.
E-Mail services that is on the company's server is theirs to monitor and read, for private e-mail use and outside e-mail service like "excite.com".
Also, once you send e-mail remember that the reciever can forward, copy, or store on the company's private e-mail service. E-mail you delete from your computer
is still on a computer somewhere - hopefully on an outside e-mail server, not the company's tape back-up.
I recommend using a outside e-mail service and ENCRYPTING the mail in case the employer has a program to intercept e-mail. But, if the sysadmin has a keylogger on your computer,what you typed before it was encrypted was already captured.
Since your computer activities are being monitored, using their computers for personal use, like e-mail, web design, or playing games could be a violation of policy and
get you FIRED.
Software on the company's server is licensed to the company only, copying the software can get you FIRED!
Also since your computer activities are being monitored, using the company's fast internet connection to download WAREZ or
bootleg software can also get you FIRED. The company does not want to get sued for copyright infringement, thats why.
Basically you signed away a lot of your rights when you signed on with the company, review the employee manual they gave you.
They should have the rules and restrictions in writing. They generally cannot fire you for a violation that was not in writing.
These rules are called Electronic/communications Policies. Rules would cover harassing, hacking, intentional damage to hardware/software,
personal use of their phones, software, and computers. As a former Security agent for several companies, you also will not be informed of
your rights when you are being investigated, you may not see the evidence against you and anything on company property can be subject to search.