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Electronic Wiretapping

By DanJohnsonCSAM ·
Our company is in the process of drafting a new appropriate use policy and I have a question regarding privacy.

The following is an excerpt from the draft policy, "The company reserves the right to monitor phone messages, facsimile, pager, e-mail messages and Internet activities that occur on company equipment, including those which may be of a ?personal? nature. Employees should not expect that messages (sent or received) or Internet use on company equipment or resources will remain private."

An attorney a few years back made a statement at a workshop on email privacy and I am wondering if it is still valid. He said that although a company has the right to view or listen to any type of electronic messages that you may send out from company equipment that the company does not have the right to intercept electronic or other messages coming into the company by outside sources especially if they are of a personal nature.

Has anyone dealt with this before or has a legal opinion regarding this?

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I understand the arguement but...

by jkaras In reply to Electronic Wiretapping

I'm sure the company has a lot more to do than eavesdrop on it's employees. You teach your children that it's not polite, so why is it in the workplace? If there was good management then the boss would ensure that it's employees were working rather than screwing off or doing behavior that wasnt appropriate. This is about the ability to fire employees to get a cheaper workforce and screw it's employees from their pensions. This tactic will generate more money to give raises to the upper crust's "brilliance" for efficiency budgeting. The money saved will not go to a bigger workforce or for a more qualified one, it's not for the "shareholders", it's B.S.
This is the reason that people snap and come to work with a weapon, or take it out on their families when they get home. The betrayal and lack of repect that the management treats it's employees that make them tons of money. The excuse of a "professional environment" is nothing more than a B.S. public relations spin doctoring.

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The assumption of ownership

by road-dog In reply to Electronic Wiretapping

If you are using company or government equipment or lines, they belong to the organization. If you don't want personal correspondence to be snooped, then don't use your corporate email account, which is owned by the organization.

This has been tried in many jurisdictions and been reinforced via precedent.

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Strawman

by TheChas In reply to Electronic Wiretapping

Just a quick strawman argument.

If the company has no right to intercept electronic messages, does the the company have no means to stop:
SPAM
Pornographic mailings
Viruses

If you can stop or block the above, then you can intercept and review any messages in any format that comes to an employee.

The only possible exception that I am aware of (that has some legal precedence in the US) is postal mail that is marked personal and confidential.

Even if there is some precedence for privacy on electronic communications, the policy places your users on notice that their communications could be monitored, not that they will be.
The legal ramifications come into play should an issue arise that causes the company to view an employees e-mail and some action results.

Chas

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