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Tech Snoops into Client's Private EMail

By Aaron A Baker ·
Opinions Please
E-Mai Snooping or Professional Misconduct?
I have a friend who owns a Medium Sized Business. It? a good Business and doing extremely well.
In this setup he has the usual, a few Computers, Printers and the usual IT Setups to do the chores.
The Problem is his IT Tech.
Although the Tech is quite knowledgeable, he has the habit of logging himself in on my friend?s system at night when all is closed down, and then proceeds to read all my friend?s E-Mail. All without my friend?s permission or consent. As a matter of fact, my friend doesn?t even know anything has taken place until the Tech asks how the date went last night etc, etc.
If an E-Mail contains a note from my friend?s girlfriend regarding going out for dinner or whatever, the Tech will usually call him the next day to ask ho the dinner went and so on.
Of course this frustrates my friend to no end as he feels that his mail is private and should certainly not be held out as entertainment.
This Tech does this without regard as to how this might affect the client.
He Just goes in and reads it all and then will send in little comments on things In the e-Mails such as ?I hope the Wine was good? , How was the Pizza? You get the idea.
When my friend asked me about this, I hit the roof. I informed him that this was Professional Misconduct. No Professional Tech would read other people?s mail for the purpose of snooping. It simply wasn?t done.
I told him that the Tech had absolutely no reason to log himself back on after hours for the sole purpose of snooping and that this was conduct unbecoming of a professional IT Tech.
Let alone call the next day to discuss the contents of said E-Mails. What Nerve.
I am writing to you, my fellow Techs to ask if your are of the same mind.
Do you think it?s appropriate for a Tech to help himself to a clients personal E-Mails and then make comments on the contents of the e-Mail to the client?.
I suggested firing him out the window, what do you think?
Would be grateful for your thoughts.
Thanking you in advance

It is now Nov 17,2005
I've read every single post that has been put up here so far. I've also started copying them and pasting them in order so as to show them to my friend. I have to do ten or so at a time and then my eyeballs fall out :).
But the one thing I felt the need to say to each and every one of you is a really huge,"Thank You".
Your input has been far more valuable that you can possibly imagine, not to mention it's given me some great fighting ideas. I was surprised at the amount of answers but at the same time felt a deep sense of well being knowing that the True Pros out there feels and act as I do. It's a comforting feeling, knowing that although your work is done almost always by yourself, you're never really alone.
And so I just had to take a minute and thank you all so very much for having helped me out with this.I will of course keep coming back,a-To copy & Paste and then b]- To read any new posts.
It's a genuine pleasure knowing that I am dealing with the very best, and all these posts, prove that beyond a doubt.
Please forgive my little rant, but I truly touched am very grateful to all of you. Far more than you can know.
And so I close in saying
"May we continue keeping our standards and morals at the highest"
"No matter where we are in the World, May we be of one Moral Core."
Thank you one and all
Warmest Regards and heartfelt gratitude

This conversation is currently closed to new comments.

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More to the point

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Welcome!

Who wants to beat the living daylights out of this guy for bringing us all into disrepute?

It's idiots like this who make it all that much harder for the rest of us as we are all tarred with the same brush when things like this happen and the end users expects us all to act this way!

It's bad enough that quite a lot of them think that we are out to rip them off blind at every opportunity but when this kind of thing happens it only makes things so much harder for the rest of us.

I'm for a bit of torture followed by drawing and quartering and hanging up the remains in the 4 corners of the world.

Col ]:)

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Aaron while the personal comments are unacceptable

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to You're right of Course

What I find worrying is his ability to have access to these in the first place and what else does he had access to?

Personal Info is bad but no where near as bad as it could be. I once saw a Insurance Consultant loose his business because he trusted a Chain Store to repair his computer and someone there sold off his client list and prices for insurance so he was undercut on every one of his current clients.

Of course nothing could be proved as to who actually did it and what makes it worse was that I warned him of this potential but he thought that I was just trying to make as much money as possible from him because I wanted to charge for repairs to the computers that I didn't supply that where still UG.

It took him about 5 years to recover and he didn't retain a single client, I personally would be far more worried about something like that happening rather than the petty remarks about personal stuff that really is unimportant in comparison to what damage can be done.

But in this case you have a clear person responsible so you have a case against him but even that may prove useless if he doesn't have the resources to pay the damages bill that would be awarded against him. With that level of access he could very easily ruin the company. So some steps must be taken to prevent this from happening so I would start off by getting someone else in and building a false DBase of clients and prices for whatever the company is offering that way if the client list is sold off or given away the place that gets the client list will be paying money for junk.

He also most likely has the ability to spoof outgoing E-Mails to make them look genuine so that too has to be taken into account.


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Don't use the email to set the trap!

by m2c2 In reply to You're right of Course

Most of the replies have been right on....
1) acceptable use policy, etc...
But when contacting other people to pursue him
don't use your email to communicate!
He would be able to read all about it :)

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Good Point

by Aaron A Baker In reply to Don't use the email to se ...

A very good point,
Thank you

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To reiterate

by Tink! In reply to Tech Snoops into Client's ...

I think everyone has already expressed the general opinion quite well.

The tech is absolutely overstepping his bounds. We IT professionals have so much power, often far more than our employers realize, that we must have strong ethics to contain ourselves.

Unless given specific permission, other people's emails are definitely off-limits.

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Two Steps - Edited

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Tech Snoops into Client's ...

1. Change the user's password
2. Replace the tech as quickly as possible. Be willing to sacrifice some job skills in exchange for professional ethics.

Edited additional step
3. Post the tech's name here so none of us will hire him.

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NOT his PERSONAL mail in the first place

by jdclyde In reply to Tech Snoops into Client's ...

If this is on the company email, he has no say in the privacy of it as it is COMPANY property, not his. The COMPANY can do as it feels with this property anytime it wants.

On the other hand, this IS a violation of trust. Does the techs boss know he is going through other peoples mail after hours?

Does Human resources?

Does the President of the company?

Point out, if the tech is reading your buds mail, you can bet he is into it all. This part is grounds for termination in MOST companies.

Rule of email. Always assume someone else will read it.

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Please note

by BHunsinger In reply to NOT his PERSONAL mail in ...

I think the first post says that the friend is the owner of the company, so it is actually his email.

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While I do agree in principal

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to NOT his PERSONAL mail in ...

The fact that this person is going around asking things that could only be obtained from the e-mail is the worrying thing.

I think that we all have from time to time had to read others e-mail but I've never heard of the contents of the e-mail being discussed with the recipient and more to the point if he is reading this what else is he reading and taking notes on?

What else does he have access to?

At one company where I was asked to do a Security Audit I found the main Accountants workstation being left on 24/7 with an internal modem in the thing. When I suggested that this wasn't such a good idea I was told that it was on the Fax line and no one could get in so everything was safe and it was unaccessible. Well that was waving a red rag to a bull so that night I downloaded their complete accounting package off the accountants workstation and presented them with a burnt CD next morning with a comment of something along the lines of "Look what I found On Line Last Night." Well when they eventually had some spare time and looked at the CD all hell broke loose and they took my advice firstly by removing the internal modems and switching to external ones that where constantly switched off unless needed and turning off computers after hours.

Lets face it we have an enormous amount of access if we chose to indulge ourselves and actually use it I don't think that there is a single thing in any company they any of us work for that we couldn't access if we really wanted to but the great majority of us know where to draw the line and you would have to be a fool to rub their noses in it if we went "Native" and took control of the setup.

This particular guy if he isn't fully there yet is at the very least part way there and needs to be stopped before he does some real harm that adversely impacts upon the company involved. He could quite easily send it broke with a few key strokes and since he has already shown his personal bent for reading e-mail when not asked to what else is he sticking his nose into?


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Darned Good Idea

by Aaron A Baker In reply to While I do agree in princ ...

That's a darned good idea. I might just do that.
Get into his system and make a Burn of everything he's got on there, including Clients, Banking, Accounting etc.
Then I'll give it to him, who know's maybe, just maybe this will drive the message home to shut Down at night.
If I do this, I will let you know the results.
Pretty hard to argue with a CD with your life on it isn't it? :)
Yes, I love it.

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