Who May Be Spying on You ... and Why?
Like Dunn and her cohorts, Pellicano, Pirro, Kerik all may face legal problems in the future.
The Uncomfortable Dilemma: Should You Spy on Your Employees?
Some years ago, when the telemarketing industry was beginning to deal with what was—and wasn’t—legal, some telephone sales representatives complained that supervisors who listened in on their conversations were violating their privacy. This is no longer an issue today; signed agreements take care of that. For one thing, if a supervisor was to be prohibited from critiquing an employee’s performance, the company might just as well close its doors.
“In a recent survey of 840 U.S. companies by the American Management Association, 60% said they now use some type of software to monitor their employees’ incoming and outgoing e-mail, up from 47% in 2001,” wrote staff reporters for The Wall Street Journal on March 9, 2005. “Other workplace privacy experts place the current percentage even higher.”
My neighbor, who just took a job with a major brokerage company, is forbidden to use the computer on his desk for personal e-mail. We serve on a civic committee here in Philadelphia, and we cannot communicate during business hours. He can call me on the phone, but not use e-mail on his company computer.
At one publishing company I know well—which does not spend time spying on employees’ phone calls, Internet activity or e-mails—the following occurred:
* On a Saturday, the IT guy came in to update the software on all the office computers. On one computer he found an illegal program used for hacking. On another was a large cache of pornography. Both individuals, who had signed a corporate Internet and computer policy, were fired.
* A young Turk e-mailed to a blogger a blistering criticism of the ethics of a company in the business. The was posted and spread instantly around the Internet. The company in question was a large advertiser with the publisher. The kid was fired for violating his employment agreement.