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Conspiring Against Your Employer? Watch What You Email 420

Posted by michael
from the 0wnz0red dept.
Eric Giguere writes "In a story that has Bay Street (the Canadian equivalent of Wall Street) in a kerfuffle, the Globe and Mail writes that bank employees defecting to set up a rival investment firm didn't realize that their employer could easily track the emails and messages they sent and received, even when they're sent via a nominally-secure system like RIM's BlackBerry. In particular, the employees were assuming that the messages they sent via direct PIN-to-PIN communication (a PIN uniquely identifies a BlackBerry device) weren't trackable. But if they're on the device, they're available to the employer to see. The employees may also have thought that PIN-to-PIN messages are encrypted, though RIM has always said that they're not -- it's only the connection to the corporate email server that is secure. A lot of damning information pulled from those emails and messages has made its way into a lawsuit."
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Conspiring Against Your Employer? Watch What You Email

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  • by the_mad_poster (640772) <shattoc@adelphia.com> on Thursday January 06, 2005 @10:35AM (#11274938) Homepage Journal
    Honestly now, any communication that passes through any computer controlled by your company can be seen. Even if they were encrypted, if, at any point they are EVER stored outside of volatile memory unencrypted, they're available.

    If you're doing something with their resources like plotting against them... well...
    • Agreed (Score:4, Interesting)

      by log0n (18224) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @10:39AM (#11274988)
      I can't believe that this isn't even common sense for a lot of people.

      People are either getting dumber, or too trustful - either way, one is a sure sign of another.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I don't understand why it's not simple for people to understand. it's not your computer, it's not your network, it's not your e-mail: you are NOT protected.
    • Because people are fucking dumb?
      I mean seriously, how dense to you have to be to realize that there is no expectation of privacy at work. It is usually spelled out in the policies. If they own or pay for the computer, the network, or whatever other methods your connect with, they are going to be able to know what is passing between those devices.

      Duh.

    • *can*, yes. But is it legally allowed? I know for a fact that in the Netherlands (where i live) it's illegal to 'spy' on your users, and then use that obtained information. Even if we saw an email from one of our users that contains illegal/damaging information we can't do anything as this would be a violation of the user's privacy.
      • This isn't an ISP spying in users who pay for the service, this is a bunch of employees abusing their company resources to organize competition. The difference is, with an ISP, you pay them, they generally stay out of your business. With a company, they pay you and the computer use is there to make your job easier, not to browse the internet or talk to your friends, or in this case, conspire against the company.
      • by Bios_Hakr (68586) <xptical.gmail@com> on Thursday January 06, 2005 @12:10PM (#11276215) Homepage
        The thing about USian corporate culture is that even if you are technicaly right, you are still wrong. Your boss could be setting baby kittens on fire and you could be the whistleblower that puts him away. The next week, you get fired for abusing the copy machine.

        This once happened to me. A router in my area lost its config. They claimed I did it. I replied that it could have been a lazy admin never doing a "wr mem". They told me that I could either sign a confession or they'd reassign me to an outside work area while they "investigated". My boss outright told me the investigation would take months while they bounced me from area to area and shift to shift.

        Given that kind of culture, the employee always loses.
        • A friend of mine was in a similiar situation once ... he was a manager of a starbucks, and while he was unpacking a delivery of supplies he noticed the order was wrong and said under his breath "this is fucked up."

          Two weeks later he is fired for *SEXUAL HARRASMENT* for using the word "fuck". And because he is fired for something of his fault, he is ineligable for unemployment benefits (which starbucks would have had to pay).

          Lots of places have policies to *never* fire someone. The best thing to do is

      • It Canada it is legal for a company to intercept all computer use, and network and phone traffic. However private communications recieve special protection under the Privacy Act limiting what the company can do with that information. The Privacy Act also requires that the company protect any personal information from disclosure. Courts have shown that employees have a limited expectation of privacy.

        In this case the bank can use the information it obtained to fire the employees. However the bank could not p
    • by holt_rpi (454352) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @11:12AM (#11275328)
      If you're acting with others for the mutual aid and protection of yourself and other coworkers, in the US you're protected by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act. A somewhat recent case highlights the NLRB's deference to email as well as other forms of communication:

      In one case, the NLRB held that email communication may qualify as "protected concerted activity" under the NLRA. In
      Timekeeping Systems, Inc., 323 NLRB 244 (1997) [nlrb.gov], the NLRB reversed the discharge of an Ohio computer programmer who criticized a new company vacation policy via e-mail. The NLRB concluded that because the employee's email message primarily sought the assistance of other employees in getting the old vacation policy reinstated, it qualified as a form of concerted activity.

      The NLRB agreed that the tenor of the employee's message was derisive, but it did not feel the message was offensive enough to lose the protection of the NLRA.


      I don't think "hey, let's blow this popsicle stand and take all of its business with it" qualifies as "protected concerted activity" under the act, even if it had occurred within the US NLRB's jurisdiction.

      However, don't let this dissuade you from working together to improve your workplace under the protections of Section 7. You should, however, try to avoid using company-owned computer systems for obvious reasons. (They own them, they can read whatever they want on them, you have no expectation of privacy on them.)
    • I have put my own harddrive in my laptop. When I leave my job for a new employer (which is forthcoming), I will take my harddrive with me.

      Ofcourse I will format it...
    • If you're doing something with their resources like plotting against them

      You've hit the nail on the head;
      This is like getting caught photocopying your butt on the company copier and then arguing that you have a right to privacy in the copy room.

      Even in a grey area (for example, I use a PC at home to VPN to work; where is the line drawn?) the chances are still good that you most likely signed some of your right of privacy away in exchange for employment.
    • Woah there everybody, I should point out that these people are not quite as daft as you all seem to think.

      They were using something called PINing which is some sort of direct Blackberry-Blackberry messaging method that *does not use the company's server*. Perhaps a friendly BlackBerry admin can explain more.

      They will have assumed that since these messages went direct from blackberry to blackberry without using any company resources, they were not liable to interception. And indeed it appears they weren't
  • by Momoru (837801) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @10:37AM (#11274975) Homepage Journal
    "A lot of people on the Street are going to have a few sleepless nights, going through loads of e-mail to delete them when they hear about this case"

    Although an employer sometimes can go through the emails on your harddrive, I think what the people in this article don't realize is that it sounds like emails are being intercepted at the server level. Who is stupid enough to use company email to conspire against the company? Setup a freakin gmail account and talk about it at home!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Setup a freakin gmail account and talk about it at home!

      Yes. But, how many idiots would set up a gmail account and then use their companies computer to access that account?

    • Re:In the US..... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 06, 2005 @10:50AM (#11275083)
      Investment firms must catologue all emails for compliance and SEC inspection, in fact they must be kept for years. All transmitions including company issued handheld devices are monitored by this automated system at most firms. So if their canadian counterparts have to do similar things this is to be expected and they have a record of all of your emails for years probably.
    • by museumpeace (735109) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @11:21AM (#11275476) Journal
      The naive emails were being exchanged for the purpose of starting an investment company! would you give a nickle to a banker or broker who was that clueless?
      it would cost the employer less to take out an add in the financial section pointing out that the upstart company was demonstrably dishonest and joining a competitive race with its intellectual pants down around its ankles than it would to sue the dummies.
    • by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @11:27AM (#11275563) Homepage
      Although an employer sometimes can go through the emails on your harddrive, I think what the people in this article don't realize is that it sounds like emails are being intercepted at the server level.


      And people should realize that due to new regulatory reasons like Sorbanes-Oxley [sarbanes-oxley.com] companies are required by law to perform this.

      In order that they don't get sued they need to treat e-mail as corporate records. So getting caught doing something like this is even more likely as companies make sure they can comply with that law.

      Cheers

  • gratitude (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 06, 2005 @10:38AM (#11274987)
    They deserve what they get. How is that for repaying your employer? He writes you a check, puts bread on your table, and you pay him back by using his own property to steal his business. Ridiculous.

    Loyalty used to mean something in this country. I guess loyalty has gone the same way as traditional family values and faith in God.

    Things are going to have to change, people.

    Steve
    • Re:gratitude (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jridley (9305) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @11:01AM (#11275191)
      I don't condone what they did, but there's no loyalty on EITHER side. Sure they write you a check, but most employers won't think twice about firing you if it suits their financial interest. If you're not getting loyalty, you tend not to give it back.
      I admire loyalty, but there are situations where it's not warranted. Most corporations have chosen not to give or reward loyalty, so they get back in turn.
      • There is a lot more loyalty than you can imagine.

        Laying someone off, especially someone you know, is a vicious nasty thing to do, and to have to do.

        A former boss and friend of mine who was in business for himself had to make a choice once: reduce pay and benefits for everyone, or layoff two people and eliminate their positions.

        At first he thought, I'll just cut everyone's pay by 10% and increase the deductible on the company insurance plan from $100 to $250. That'll keep everyone in a job, and everyo
        • Kudos to that guy. I also used to be one of the officers in a small business. We (the officers) took pay cuts before any employees when business dropped down. Eventually I left the company because it didn't need 3 partners drawing officer's salary, and they could do better without me.

          But that's not usual.
    • by rah1420 (234198) <rah1420@gmail.com> on Thursday January 06, 2005 @11:01AM (#11275195)
      Loyalty still means something, but it may not be what you think it means.

      Look, these people were dumb, that much can be argued. They were dumb for using a monitored service to do this, and they were dumb for (ostensibly) stealing their company's resources for the purpose of setting up a competitor.

      However, you need to decouple this from the loyalty argument. The loyalty you need to have is not to your company any more. Are they loyal to you if business turns sour and they have to start slashing the payroll? Hell no. The corporate sinecure is dead. "Ma" Bell doesn't evince the image of a benevolent mother any more.

      The kind of loyalty you should have is to your projects, to your work, to you as an individual and to your Rolodex (or electronic equivalent.)

      If you live every day as if you might be laid off, working on projects that will escalate your worth and making sure that lots and lots of people know what kind of value you contribute, then you'll be better off; your customers (those who are the beneficiaries of your projects) will be better off, and your company will be better off.

      And if things should turn sour, then you shrug your shoulders, get your Rolodex out and start calling.

      So instead of "Logo Loyalty" you should cultivate "Rolodex Loyalty" (thanks, Tom Peters. [tompeters.com])
    • by XMyth (266414) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @11:05AM (#11275242) Homepage
      Yea, damn Canadians. At least loyalty still means something in America.
    • Uh.. coporations through loyalty out first and established the precedent of dog-eat-dog years ago. Now it goes two ways.
    • I agree that it's pretty lame to use a company's resources to steal their business, but I've never understood the notion of deep company loyalty. True, a company may "write me a check" but the company does NOT "put bread on my table", I do. The check was in exchange for the services I provided -nothing more, nothing less. Don't get all sentimental about company loyalty. It's a business. When times get tough, you might get a pink slip just as fast as the next guy.

      Loyalty does mean something nowadays, it's

    • Funny. Last time i posted a similar comment it was modded offtopic/troll. Oh, but that was with EA, and i guess it's okay then ...
    • Re:gratitude (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sophrosyne (630428)
      ...what ever happened to that tradition where men would get married to women, then "go out for milk" to sleep with other men.
      Or the traditional family value of basically owning your wife and children... People miss "teaching others lessons" in the family.
      If you pull back that blind nostalgia those traditional family values are no different than the ethics of Victorian England.... most of the time they were all a facade.
      As intelligent people we should challenge tradition instead of complacently accepting
    • Re:gratitude (Score:5, Insightful)

      by silverbax (452214) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @11:15AM (#11275377)
      "I guess loyalty has gone the same way as traditional family values and faith in God."

      Ahem.

      Over 80% of the nation's population is Christian.
      The are blue laws to prevent the sale of alcoholic beverages during certain days (Sunday) or completely in roughly 80% of the United States.

      There are over one hundred cable channels nationwide devoted entirely to Christian programming.

      Nearly very company in the U.S. is closed on Christmas.

      "In God We Trust" is printed on all U.S. money.

      And yet, every day someone claims religious persecution of the Christian religion.
    • Re:gratitude (Score:3, Interesting)

      by maxpublic (450413)
      Bullshit. These people were idiots for using company resources to talk about setting up their own firm, but loyalty of any kind doesn't enter into the equation. Capitalism relies on the exchange of goods and services, in this case labor for pay - NOT some stupid, pathetic "company uber alles!" mindset.

      Businesses pay me for my skills. They don't get my loyalty as a freebie on top of that. Companies aren't nations, aren't friends, aren't family, and they sure as hell don't deserve my devotion as a matter
      • Wow. I agree with an enemy.

        Businesses exist to make profits. That is their sole goal. If someone wants to start a company they don't have any ethics other than 'make the most money possible.' No one should trust a business to do the right thing, especially if it's unprofitable.

    • Re:gratitude (Score:3, Interesting)

      Loyalty used to mean something in this country.

      Where have you been for the last twenty years?

      We can easily get in a chicken and egg argument but in my opinion this trend toward lack of loyalty was begun by employers, not their employees.

      It wasn't the employees who first went around pronouncing that the age of lifetime employment was over and people had better get used to have 2 or 3 different careers in a lifetime. It wasn't employees who decided to ship their own jobs overseas to save some money.

    • I agree, but I wouldn't have used the words loyalty or gratitude, but integrity.

      When you're working for a company, you should work for the company. You're collecting their paycheck, so behave like a professional.

      If you want to set up your own company, do it on your time with your own resources. You own them at least that.

      Do people have less integrity than in past generations? I'm not sure. I think malfeasance is better publicized than before (eg, this forum).

      And in Canada, "family values" has never

    • No company should ever expect their employees to be "loyal". Loyalty is a dangerous character trait; it means a person will ignore what they feel is right for the sake of allegiance to an authority.

      Instead, a company should expect an employee to act essentialy in her/her best interest (and there is more to this than financial benefit of course). It is up to the company to provide a workplace that is, in fact, something the employee wakes up every day to and can say "this is something I want to be par
    • let me know when they comapnies deserve the loyality.

      it usedto be that companies treated the employees like human beings and treated them well to help encourage loyalty.

      Nowdays it's status-quo to screw your employees in any way you can.

      anyone suprised that an employee is not loyal is either unbelieveably stupid or had their head stuffed somewhere.

      Some companies try hard to treat their employees right, and they have a very low turnover and high employee morale and statisfaction. but those companies are
    • Right, employers just "put bread on your table" out of the goodness of their hearts. Yeah, right!

      Obviously, the people working at this company must have thought that they weren't being compensated adequately for the value that they brought to the company. They thought that their management was clueless and didn't deserve the employees and the business that it had, and that they could do better on their own.

      The only dumb thing these people did was use company resources to do their conspiring, and that it
    • Loyalty used to mean something in this country. I guess loyalty has gone the same way as traditional family values and faith in God.

      Yup. Sadly, man has a long history of betraying his benefactors.

      Example: colonists who owed everything to king and country -- yet they threw all that tea in Boston Harbor. And what followed was worse. Ingrates!

      -kgj
    • Lack of loyalty to employers is due to lack of loyalty to employees. I'd be loyal to my employer if I didn't see my coworkers getting canned because we're a few percent overbudget, even when it leaves us unable to live up some pretty sweet contracts that we already have.
  • by dreamt (14798) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @10:39AM (#11274993)
    I'm sorry, but I feel no pity for people being caught this way. Its very clear when you start working somewhere that the computers you use are the property of the employer, and you should expect no privacy from these machines. They used company owned BlackBerries because they thought it would be secret (implying that they knew other company computers were not). If you use something company owned because you think it is secure, while other company propery is not secure, it just shows you dumb enough to be caught. If they were so concerned about their privacy, they should not have used any company property.
  • You'd think somebody trying to commit corporate espionage would be smarter wouldn't you? I mean, communication is a two party interaction, you'd think the coporation on the receiving end would provide a slightly more secure method for communication, if they were looking for secrecy :p
    • You'd think somebody trying to commit corporate espionage would be smarter wouldn't you?

      You would, but these folks were EXECUTIVES. Just by the nature of their job, they are pre-disposed to idiocy.

  • OMFG (Score:2, Funny)

    by Bif Powell (726774)
    Can we please add 'kerfuffle' to the profanity filter. I don't find it profane, but I would prefer to see !#%$@#$#!@ instead.
  • If i am sending anything personal I do it through my webmail that has SSL, why would I want my employer knowing what I am saying on off business or to my g/f?

    basic fact is, he deserved to be caught for being a moron.
  • by Lonesome Squash (676652) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @10:42AM (#11275020)
    the company did right here. If they DIDN'T record all employee communication, the regulators (at least those we deal with in the US) would have demanded that they do so. Not only that, but they would be leaving themselves open to customer and shareholder lawsuits. I'm sure that somewhere in the mammoth stack of forms anyone working in securities must sign when they're hired on was one saying, "No facility is provided for private electronic communication."

    The really shameful thing (aside from working on company time to screw your employer) is that these people didn't know this already. Looking at the list of those being sued, I see IT people who should have known better. Perhaps the company would have punished them more effectively by letting them go form their own company without understanding the basics of ethics, law (including allegedly trying to steal customer databases), or security.

  • What kind of moron sends questionable e-mails relating to plans to start a competing company through his employer's e-mail server!? You might as well print your entire plan and leave it sitting on the personal printer of the C*O. There are hundreds of free online e-mail systems, and GMail even allows connections over https, which makes the communication between the browser and the mail server less prone to snooping. Better yet, don't even do it from work! It's just . . . astounding . . . how stupid some
    • For the record, PIN to PIN Blackberry e-mails do not pass through the corporate servers. That is exactly why they can't be encrypted. They are routed by RIM's network.

      I was involved in a project a couple of years ago to build Blackberry encryption software for the US government (they cancelled it, but we finished the software anyway -- unfortunately no one uses it). The PIN to PIN issue was one of the main reasons the government wanted extra encryption (plus, regular Blackberry e-mails are encrypted ri

  • Idiots**2 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Deep Fried Geekboy (807607) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @10:47AM (#11275061)
    These people are in charge of your money, folks.

    They are idiots for two reasons.

    First, because they clearly acted unethically, which is the really big idiocy. I run my own company and rule number one is due diligence. I am not going to screw myself by doing something that could bite me in the ass further down the line.

    It's astonishing how many investment guys simply don't get this. I have literally had my own investment guy sit there and tell me that a particular investment 'cannot lose', in the presence of his lawyer -- who looked very uncomfortable and was forced to intervene by saying "Look, you cannot say that".

    Second, anyone who uses unencrypted email on a server they do no control, ESPECIALLY if it belongs to someone they are screwing, deserves to spend the rest of their productive years flipping burgers, or possibly stamping licence plates.
    • I have literally had my own investment guy sit there and tell me that a particular investment 'cannot lose', in the presence of his lawyer

      Investment bankers are salesmen, akin to car dealers. If unable to avoid them, they should be handled with care and suspicion.
  • by dmuth (14143) <doug,muth+slashdot&gmail,com> on Thursday January 06, 2005 @10:48AM (#11275067) Homepage Journal
    ...but what the hell is a "kerfuffle"?

    • but what the hell is a "kerfuffle"?

      It's similar to a brouhaha :)

      Seriously, why not check a dictionary [m-w.com]?

      Main Entry: kerfuffle

      Pronunciation: k&r-'f&-f&l
      Function: noun
      Etymology: alteration of carfuffle, from Scots car- (probably from Scottish Gaelic cearr wrong, awkward) + fuffle to become disheveled
      chiefly British : DISTURBANCE, FUSS

      Or you could try using the mysterious skill known as "figure it out from context".

  • Moula? (Score:3, Funny)

    by jbrw (520) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @10:57AM (#11275163) Homepage
    Anyone who refers to money as moula is not getting their hands on my moula.
  • by skyshock21 (764958) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @11:00AM (#11275185)
    ... but when you start using RIM and job in the same story, that's when it starts setting off my company's content filters.
  • It is for this very same reason that people in financial institutions are not allowed to use most internet ports, login to web-mail services, etc.

    Now, you really have to be an ass if you try to fsck with the hand that's feeding you. And we are talking about people making tons of money anyways !

  • by Frogg (27033) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @11:04AM (#11275237)
    sorry, but if i was trying to pull a fast one on my current place of employment (or otherwise rip someone off, or carry out some kind of espionage), i'd be a total fool to think any existing comms channels were secure -- /without/ having put in my own layer of encryption, to which only i have the key/passphrase.

    install gpg, or worse than nothing, use s/mime - but if you need to ensure privacy, you need to have (put) your own privacy layer in place.

    (it's no good hoping and relying on magic pixies)
  • by Matey-O (518004) <michaeljohnmiller@mSPAMsSPAMnSPAM.com> on Thursday January 06, 2005 @11:05AM (#11275248) Homepage Journal
    Rule #0: If you're planning on screwing over your employer (an ethical conundrum all by itself), try not to use the employers resources to do so.

    That means: keep the bits off their infrastructure. ALL of it.
  • It is quite silly to think that Email is secure in today's day and age, however what none of these bankers considered was using ssh [idokorro.com] and then say something like silc [silcnet.org] to have a secure conversation. Most large institutions with RIM have the BES and thus using ssh is an option. which is certainly more secure than email, but is it totally secure? Or still prone to eavesdropping?
  • by rayd75 (258138) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @11:09AM (#11275290)
    To use a cliché, I'd be rich if I had a nickel for every time I've seen an employee frantically clear his or her browser cache or send an email then delete it from the sent items folder. Surprise! The device on your desktop is not the center of the universe! Maybe abiding by policies and staying away from any shady dealings is a better way to cover your ass.
  • This exact thing, getting caught in a conspiracy to leave the company, happened to my boss and a coworker. I was working away, and they were both told to clear out thier desks, and I was then called into the HR office. I was told that my boss and co-worker sent emails back and forth on company machines that said things like "we are going to rip these morons off so bad". They actually discussed inviting me and a secrty. to join the company they were going to start up, but decided to not take because I wo
  • Not to be trusted (Score:3, Interesting)

    by canuck57 (662392) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @11:13AM (#11275356)

    In reading the replies to this post it is clear there are two camps. One which says they were stupid to get caught and the other that has no pity.

    Remember, these turncoats gladly accepted a pay cheque to be a representative of their company. Their actions could cause the company to lay off people, perhaps you if it causes financial harm.

    I for one would not look forward to calling one of these turncoats a friend. It would only be a mater of time before they framed me for their own gain.

    Let these turkeys fry

    • Remember, these turncoats gladly accepted a pay cheque to be a representative of their company. Their actions could cause the company to lay off people, perhaps you if it causes financial harm.

      They aren't turncoats, they're employees. Turncoat implies some level of loyalty, which is totally absent.

  • Heh. Most people don't know how email works at all - they somehow think their password protects people from snooping in.

    Speaking of which, GnuPG [gnupg.org] is at 1.4.0 now. For Windows users, GPGShell [jumaros.de] is a good (closed-source) frontend for it.
  • You post information on a public forum? without IP protection? without compensation?

    Damned commies ...
  • The logical solution if you're plotting against your employer...and I think the term "plotting" is a little inflamatory...is to get your own devices and don't use them to connect to the corporate servers. It's good advice for anything not job related, even if you're not "plotting" something. You little plotters. :)

    Sheez, 60 bucks a month or something like that. Cheap insurance.

  • It's friggin' PIM!!! PIM!!! GODDAMN IT!

    Personal Information Manager
    • Re:PIN to PIN??? (Score:2, Informative)

      by NicolaiBSD (460297)
      Eeehm.. actually it is PIN. Blackberry PIN-to-PIN messaging is a way of sending email like messages to other Blackberry devices connected to the same Blackberry server. Each device has a unique 'PIN' which is used for the addressing of these messages, hence the term 'PIN-to-PIN'.
  • by lukewarmfusion (726141) on Thursday January 06, 2005 @11:28AM (#11275587) Homepage Journal
    I just started my own company, directly competing with my previous employer. I spent nearly eight months on their payroll while I began up my own business and sought projects of my own. Here's what I learned:

    1. Don't stab anyone in the back (burned bridges, insert your favorite cliche). It can come back to hurt you.

    2. Don't give your bosses a reason to be unhappy with you. Work just as hard - or harder. If you're valuable to the company, leaving them will be more painful (and can produce a more profitable situation for you).

    3. Encrypt every email, instant message, and web transaction that deals with your activities. Don't assume anything is safe unless you're actively doing something to ensure its security or you can verify it easily (SSL, for instance).

    4. Regularly scan your machine for viruses and spyware. Use a packet sniffer to see if you're sending anything unexpected. Look through your machine to see if there are programs installed that shouldn't be there... is your company spying on you?

    5. Don't use their phones. Upgrade your damn cell plan and use that.

    6. Take advantage of non-company resources for communication and whatnot. Find a decent webmail provider with SSL enabled.

    7. Make sure any contract or agreement you signed isn't going to come back to bite you. If you signed a non-compete agreement or whatever, don't assume it's invalid or that they won't pursue it. See a lawyer BEFORE you have legal troubles in this area.

    As others have complained, there are loyalty problems in this country. I used to love my job, love my work, and love the company. Some things changed, and while I still love the work I no longer enjoyed anything about the company. Many attempts to change it from within failed. When your boss is taking advantage of you, you need to re-evaluate. When you're stuck in a dead-end, you need to re-evaluate. When you get the line, "if you don't like it, then find somewhere else to work," the time for re-evaluation has passed and it's time to end that part of your life.

    Employers aren't loyal to employees any more than we are to them. I heard stories of pre-1980s-boom-and-crash Japan, where a failing company's president would give everything he had back into the company to keep it going as long as possible...and if it wouldn't work, he'd split the cash from his shares, pay, etc. among the employees. This was in return for the lifetime loyalty you gave to the company.
    • Upgrade your damn cell plan and use that.

      You're joking, right. Cell phone calls are the easiest of all to intercept - you just need a radio receiver. Use land-line phones, or if you're paranoid, encrypted VoIP.
    • A company I worked for was very paranoid and badly managed (so much so that 30+ other people left within the same six week period as I did). After we left, they installed video monitoring of every desk, door monitoring and other intrusions.

      However, it turns out that before that, they had installed keystroke monitors, and used this to obtain passwords to private web-based email accounts. We found this out because one of the former employees was hit with a lawsuit with "evidence" from his private Yahoo ema
  • for all you merciless lawn-n-order tools out there screaming how "How dare They!!!!" it's important to remember that your employer actually does not own you, assuming of course you're not a real-life slave. Em-ploy-ees and I emphasize that to drive home the point that they are Employees, as opposed to Partners do in fact...

    Now I know this is gonna send some of you Radical Republicans over the edge.....

    Have a Right, to leave and form another company or collect sea shells or any other damn thing.

    Dat's righ
  • I have a web server that I also use as an SMTP relay for all my email addresses. That way there isn't any chance for someone to log the mail I send. This is a good setup if you know what you are doing and make sure to secure it against spammers.
  • 9 letters.

    C-Y-B-E-R-C-A-F-E.
  • by dfj225 (587560)
    I thought it was a law that all publically traded companies had to maintain records of their communications, incase said materials need to be indicted. Anyway, you have to assume that for most companies (public or not) it is really easy for them to monitor internal communications. My employer even goes as far as to have a notice popup on every computer every time someone logs in. Seems like common sense not to talk about such things using communication methods provided by the entity you are saying thin

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