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November 16, 2007

The Workplace and Privacy [12:16 pm]

A couple of articles from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s WWW site:

  • Boeing bosses spy on workerspdf

    Within its bowels, The Boeing Co. holds volumes of proprietary information deemed so valuable that the company has entire teams dedicated to making sure that private information stays private.

    One such team, dubbed “enterprise” investigators, has permission to read the private e-mails of employees, follow them and collect video footage or photos of them. Investigators can also secretly watch employee computer screens in real time and reproduce every keystroke a worker makes, the Seattle P-I has learned.

    For years, Boeing workers have held suspicions about being surveilled, according to a long history of P-I contact with sources, but at least three people familiar with investigation tactics have recently confirmed them.

  • GPS pays off for cities as it tracks workerspdf

    GPS tracking devices installed on government-issue vehicles are helping communities around the country reduce waste and abuse, in part by catching employees shopping, working out at the gym or otherwise loafing while on the clock.

    The use of GPS has led to firings, stoking complaints from employees and unions that the devices are intrusive, Big Brother technology. But city officials say that monitoring employees’ movements has deterred abuses, saving the taxpayers money in gasoline and lost productivity.

    “We can’t have public resources being used on private activities. That’s Management 101,” said Phil Nolan, supervisor of the Long Island town of Islip.

  • At work, all e-mail can be publicpdf

    By now, most employees have gotten the message: It’s both technically possible and legally permissible for your employer to read e-mail you send or receive at work.

    That seems logical. If you’re using an e-mail address ending with your company’s name — a type of e-mail known as POP3 (Post Office Protocol) — the address makes it clear that the company owns the domain name and the server on which the e-mail system resides.

    But what about Web-based e-mail, such as Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo Mail?

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Missed This Hearing [11:17 am]

What I get for checking in on the Committee Hearing list: Exploring the Scope of Public Performance Rights, with testimony from Lyle Lovett, Alice Peacock, Steven W. Newberry (for the NAB) and Dan Devany (a classical music radio station manager in DC). The topic at issue — payments for radio broadcasts of music to performers. A surprisingly balanced set of testimony, in fact.

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Well, Color Me Surprised! [11:12 am]

Of course, it’s not even close to the end of this fight, but I really expected a different outcome: Panel Drops Immunity From Eavesdropping Bill

Reflecting the deep divisions within Congress over granting legal immunity to telephone companies for cooperating with the Bush administration’s program of wiretapping without warrants, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a new domestic surveillance law on Thursday that sidestepped the issue.

By a 10 to 9 vote, the committee approved an overhaul of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that dropped a key provision for immunity for telecommunications companies that another committee had already approved. The Senate leadership will have to decide how to deal with the immunity question on the Senate floor.

On Thursday night, the House voted 227 to 189, generally along party lines, to approve its own version of the FISA bill, which also does not include immunity.

But the administration has made clear that President Bush will veto any bill that does not include what it considers necessary tools for government eavesdropping, including the retroactive immunity for phone carriers that took part in the National Security Agency’s wiretapping program after the Sept. 11 attacks.

I can’t find the vote tally for S. 2248, but I guess it was party line.

A blow-by-blow from Glenn Greenwald: Important day for FISA and amnesty

Now, the next step will be focused on Sen. Reid. He has virtually unlimited discretion to decide what version of the bill to introduce to the full Senate. He could introduce the Intelligence Committee version (with amnesty), the Judiciary Committee version (without amnesty), the House version, or he could just introduce something entirely new altogether, something that gets negotiated between Rockefeller, Leahy and Reid.

Even under the best-case scenario — namely, Reid introduces a bill which does not contain amnesty — anyone can (and certainly will) offer an amendment to include amnesty in the bill, and no matter what happens, it will be necessary to find 41 Senators willing to support Dodd’s filibuster to keep amnesty out of the bill. [...]

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