It's a Best of Reader comments sequel...Last week silicon.com published a story highlighting the fears of UK office workers who believe their personal emails are being snooped on by everybody from their own tech teams to their bosses and colleagues. The Reader Comments flooded in and opinion seems divided over this controversial subject. Here's the latest batch of feedback. Read it, and let us know what you think... "The admin staff have a good laugh about some of the things we see"
From an anonymous reader I am a mail server admin and where I work, in the Health Service, Exchange journaling and a random sample of emails are taken and read to ensure that staff are not abusing the system. The admin staff have a good laugh about some of the things we see, but it stays internal to the dept and gets deleted once finished with. "If people are worried, they shouldn't send messages from work"
From Rachel Clarke If people are worried about snooping, they shouldn't send messages from work email or in work time. I'm as guilty as the next man/woman for using my computer for personal surfing and messaging and often do it in work time. Ultimately, though, it's not my computer or my resources and my company would be well within their rights (provided prior warning was given for indiscriminate snooping so as not to breech the Human Rights Act!) to look at anything that is stored on my computer or any of my network shares. As a net admin, I'm usually the one snooping at the request of people I don't question! It's only happened a couple of times in the years I've worked in this position. "Get on with your job!"
From Angus Doyle This email snooping is one of those urban myths that never seem to stop. I have had the pleasure of being employed in some of the largest Blue Chips in the world, each have their own approach to monitoring of email, and it really is never done unless there is good reason to. Idle snooping just for the sake of it would just be downright immoral, regardless of the fact it is legal. I have never been asked to monitor any member of staff, the most I have ever done was log subject lines to gauge the relevance of emails being sent. This way you know who is sending large amounts of personal emails without knowing the content. I find this method unintrusive and effective. All staff are warned that from time to time we randomly monitor the email systems to ensure that it is getting used as a business tool and not being abused. Email sent from within a company network should never be considered as private be it from company mail servers or web-based email systems such as Hotmail. My advice to all who are worried about this sort of thing is: "Get on with your job!" "This is not a moral issue but one of self-preservation"
By Warren Edwardes I have NEVER used office email systems for personal mail. All personal mail should be sent via private webmail accounts or PDAs linked to mobile phones. This is not a moral issue but one of self-preservation. "I did have occasion to 'snoop' on some personal mail..."
From Alan Bruce I did have occasion to snoop on some personal mail. I was under orders from the office admin to find the evidence that one of the office girls was using a Hotmail account while she should be working. I had a look at the girl's PC while she was out, and found she had saved all the mail locally. Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted all the evidence before the admin could see it, and had a private word with the girl concerned. It didn't go down too well with the admin, but hey, she did less work than anybody in the office anyway. "The individual concerned resigned..."
From Tom Steemson In practice all mail is swept by automated systems but there are only two scenarios that I've come across where I've found it necessary to manually intercept mail. First, when one of the users has crashed their own mail system, so I need to access their accounts to fix the problem. The other has occurred when a user sends another group of users a message that is tens of megabytes in size and, given that the users in question are on dial-up accounts, completely log-jams the system for the recipients. If any of the staff here were found to be reading other people's mail simply for the gathering of office gossip then they would be disciplined. It has happened once and the individual responsible was warned in no uncertain terms that a repeat of the incident would result in his dismissal. We've had an instance of someone [wrongly addressing] a personal email to the boss too. In fact the post in question went to everyone in the entire company - very embarrassing for the individual concerned given the nature of the message. The individual concerned resigned. (Tom, you tease! What did the mail say, how can you string us along like this? Ed.) Keep the feedback flooding in. We want to hear your stories and opinion about this controversial subject. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.