The Workplace and Privacy [12:16 pm]
A couple of articles from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s WWW site:
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 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.
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?