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"I always feel like somebody's watching me"...

Do you ever feel like someone is watching you, waiting for you to make a mistake?  Well if you're part of one of the 41 percent of largest U.S. companies that monitor their employees email on a regular basis, you might not be so crazy after all.

A surprising new survey is illustrative of the increasing loss of privacy on the internet, particular in public locations.  The company that published the study, Proofpoint, states that the cause of this privacy loss is not entirely malicious.  Companies have become fearful of information leaks over email, blogs, message boards, media sharing sites and mobile devices.  Over 44 percent of companies admitted to performing investigations into leaks this year.

Companies are responding by increasing employee monitoring.  Of the companies with over 20,000 employees, approximately 41 percent were found to monitor outbound email.  Of the large companies approximately 22 percent hired employees chiefly for the purpose of monitoring the other employees' email.

Aside from email leaks, 40 percent of companies reported investigating email violations of privacy or data protection regulations.  The results of these investigations -- 26 percent of all companies surveyed report terminating an employee within the last year for email policy violation.  Further, 23 percent of companies responded that their business had been impacted by the release of sensitive or embarrassing materials from within the company.  Of the largest companies, 34 percent report that their employee email was subpoenaed within the last year.

Companies aren’t just worrying about and watching employees' email communications, either.  Of all the companies surveyed, a surprising 27 percent reported that they lost confidential information through lost or stolen mobile devices within the last year.  In the past year 11 percent of companies reported disciplining employees for blogs or message boards.  In addition, 13 percent report punishing employees for inappropriate use of social networking sites and 14 percent report punishing employees for using media sharing sites.

Blogs are also under investigation these days.  Of the companies surveyed 14 percent of companies report investigating the release of material financial information (such as unannounced financial results) on blogs and message boards.

The unfortunate side effect of this trend is that it’s hard to tell companies are merely watching out for their own interests from companies who are looking to snoop inappropriately in employees personal lives.  The trend surely will leave many employees feeling a bit violated.

However, even those employees that are not subject to corporate monitoring may fall under the scope of increased government monitoring programs in the U.S. and abroad.  The UK government recently announced plans to try to collect its citizens' email, web, and phone history.  Web monitoring efforts here in the U.S. are also widely known.  People are having to face the somewhat unpleasant reality that their private lives online are becoming less and less private.

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RE: Violated?
By Mitch101 on 5/22/2008 5:23:48 PM , Rating: 4
Managers are the best for pr0n and jokes. A good manager provides up to date new jokes worthy of reading.

Helpdesk is the worst for resumes and burnout videos and thinking they know ways around the system. LOL. A+ certified no more like D minus at most.

Accounting and HR for soccer mom schedules and extra curricular activities outside the office. Gossip too. The funny part here is Accounting and HR will open tickets for not receiving kids photos or soccer schedules or e-mail from their husbands.

Security funny enough they receive the most netflix e-mail. Should you be securing the place or watching movies?

Most of the time if you do get called to check on something its because someone forwarded the wrong joke or adult content to the wrong person or someone saw it over their shoulder.

My favorite ones to deal with are the people who receive a spoofed message from a yahoo/road runner account thinking they won a contest from the company you work for and you match the IP addresses to their local subnet.

A manager once moved his porn accidentally to a public folder.

Other things that come to mind.
Girls with ex boyfriends who start websites with their pictures on them. Ex wife/husband fights. Someone sending threats to people outside the company from someone else's computer left unlocked. VIRUSES from people who connect to external mail systems and open the attachments then try to deny and lie about it. Sadly the Viruses from external mail sources is someone from helpdesk 30% of the time. Again D Minus certified.

Every e-mail system should block AOL entirely because its just chain letters, jokes, virus warnings you heard 10 years ago that they just heard for the very first time. Budweiser frogs? Bill Gates sending you money if you forward this to 10 people?

In every company there is that one guy who must forward you ever piece of spam he ever receives in his inbox even though you tell him to just delete it and move on he never does this. At this point the e-mail team adds his name to spam just because.

A new thing I started seeing is spam with an IPV4 but last octet being IPV6. Example I haven't tried this yet but its a pretty cool idea.

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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