Are You Being Spied On?
In Business, You Can't Be Too Careful About What You Send, Receive and Leave Lying Around
Feb. 9, 2006: Vol. 2, Issue No. 11
IN THE NEWS
Gonzales: NSA may tap 'ordinary' Americans' e-mail
WASHINGTON—Agents operating a controversial National Security Agency surveillance program may have inadvertently spied on the e-mails and phone calls of Americans with no ties to terrorists, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Monday.
—Anne Broache, ZDNet News, Feb. 7, 2006
A friend of mine has been with a major New York brokerage firm for 40 years. "There is no confidential e-mail," he told me, "and no confidential paperwork—memos or letters. Management has the right to see anything it wants at any time it chooses."
With the brouhaha in Washington over the National Security Agency's spying sans warrants on U.S. citizens, this is a good point of departure to look at spying in the workplace—e-mails, phone taps, blogs and desk snoopers.
In the May 1, 2005, New York Times Magazine, Michael Crowley reported the following e-mail exchange between the notorious Washington insider/lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his business partner, Michael Scanlon. They were hoping to land as clients the Native American Saginaw Chippewa owners of the Soaring Eagle Casino and resort in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, which does a tasty $400 million a year.
''Did we win it?'' Scanlon wrote.
''The [expletive] troglodytes didn't vote on you today,'' Abramoff responded.
''What's a troglodyte?'' Scanlon asked. (In his early 30's, he had much to learn from his master.)
''What am I, a dictionary? 🙂 It's a lower form of existence, basically,'' Abramoff wrote. ''I like these guys,'' he hastened to add, yet then continued: ''They are plain stupid ... Morons.''
Just after the new year, Abramoff pleaded guilty to federal counts of fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials. The quid pro quo for being allowed to cop a plea is that he has promised to testify against some of the most powerful figures on Capitol Hill.