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One-Third Of Companies Monitoring Email 373

dotpavan writes "While studies have shown that spying on workers tends to make them less productive, that hasn't stopped approximately 1/3 of all U.S. companies from employing email monitoring tools. 43% of those companies employ staff to check outgoing emails. This seems like quite a waste. While there are some times when it makes sense to monitor emails (or it's required by law), most of the time, this seems like a complete waste of money. Not only are you upsetting workers and decreasing productivity, the benefits are pretty hard to spot. The number of "problem" emails tends to be incredibly low. If someone really wants to send out inappropriate emails, they're going to figure out some other way to do so, such as via a free webmail account somewhere. Yet, the companies are buying up expensive tools and hiring staff to watch just in case they catch the one or two problematic emails that go over the corporate network."
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One-Third Of Companies Monitoring Email

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  • Automatic or manual? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Will_Malverson ( 105796 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @05:47PM (#12394056) Journal
    Does that count companies like mine, that once bounced email back to me because I described a process as "sucking up all the CPU time", only to be told that 'suck' or 'sucking' is not allowed in our email?
    • by Criffer ( 842645 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @05:55PM (#12394108)
      As if sucking is a swear word. Hell, I suck lollipops all the time!

      And what about the word 'hell'. Well, coming from a Christian activism group, that's a valid word. Or chicken farmers talking about cocks. What's next? People called Richard being unable to use their abbreviated name? One Linux distro forum site censors the word "documentation" as "do***mentation".

      Censorship is stupid. Automatic censorship more so.
    • by NetNifty ( 796376 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @05:58PM (#12394117) Homepage
      When I was back at school, the network admin blocked the word "sex" in email, and the web. It even filtered out some of the intranet (yes, he even made it apply to the school intranet) because the pages referred to schools in Sussex and Middlesex.
      • You know it's my senior year of highschool, for the past 5 years I've gotten around every filter my school has had up, and I've spent my time in computer classes finding expolites in the network that let me do everything from changes grades to veiw teachers emails (They had a great way of asigning network user names and passwords to teachers their username as their last name and the first inital of their first name, then the password was 'blackhawk', the name of the school.) Well last year my school decide
        • You are stupid for doing what you did. If they had ever caught you they could have done all kinds of things to you like charge you with crimes, put this on your permanent school record etc. DO NOT TELL THEM ANYTHING. Just don't fuck around on networks you do not own it could seriously mess up your future. Being branded a hacker and criminal could seriously impact your ability to go to college, get a job etc.

          Once you decided to mess around on their network your window of opportunity of "being honest" has
      • ... Scunthorpe!


        You guys think we're kidding, right?

    • Cryillic characters are great for bypassing those automated systems. There's a Cryillic 'i', so you can say shit with impunity :-)
  • so what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lanc ( 762334 )

    fire up your browser and use your gmail acc.
    • Re:so what? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Chess_the_cat ( 653159 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @05:53PM (#12394093) Homepage
      Wouldn't work in my office. All webmail is banned. They don't want anyone downloading attachments because of the threat of viruses. Any incoming mail sent from outside the network is automatically stripped of its attachments by the corporate firewall.
      • So I guess in your organization attachments are a privilege reserved for those who understand base64(1) [freebsd.org].

      • How do they enforce webmail ban?
        Sure, they can ban well-known webmail hosts, but with just about every ISP and university having web mail, that's a very long list.
      • Re:so what? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Luddite ( 808273 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @07:37PM (#12394729)

        My company has restrictive policies as well. we aggressively monitor systems use, external phone calls, email and internet traffic. I can tell you they're worried about the wrong thing:

        USB drives are what the babysitters should be shitting themselves over. How many companies have a huge list of staff in engineering and other sensitive areas with have local admin rights?. plug, play, cut, paste and you could see hundred sensitive documents go to your competition.

        Lift a gigabyte of restricted documents no one will notice, but send an email with a rude word in it and you get counselled for "unnaceptable" conduct.

        security concious? no. righteous and moral? yes. wrong focus for a business, I think.
  • A waste? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dhakbar ( 783117 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @05:49PM (#12394067)
    You wouldn't consider hiring folks to monitor e-mail if your firm suffered public embarrassment or lost business due to leaked information. While I agree that it is sad that employers don't feel that they can trust their employees, I honestly cannot blame them.
    • Re:A waste? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kfg ( 145172 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @06:07PM (#12394202)
      This isn't about leaked information. Anyone who wishes to leak information has multiple avenues to do so quite easily, given that they have access to the information in the first place.

      Their own brains being the most obvious means. Notebooks and copy machines being others.

      No, this is primarily about "hostile work environment" and sexual harrassment lawsuits and such like, with a healty dose of rigid heirarchical control syndrome (formerly known as Overseers Disease, formerly known as "Asshole Boss") thrown in for good measure.

      KFG
      • Think of it this way:

        The PHBs and Catberts of the world are trying to prove they're in control because their own Bungee Bosses are leaning on them until the pHBs and Catberts are starting to making squealing noises.

        They actually don't give a good goddamn about you one way or another. You could probaby smoke crack for lunch at the office and get away with paid extended leave, put on a substance abuse program and 'monitored' by the plant 'nurse' (the one who's not even allowed to give out any Aspirin for fe
      • I think there are enough stupid criminals to make e-mail monitoring worthwhile. Plenty of people have been fired/prosecuted because of stupid usage of internal e-mail.
    • Using company email to leak info is a really bad way of doing it. That could be compared to pointing out that "there's a cavity here!" while getting wchewed on by the lion. Here's the comprehensive checklist:

      1. Stash information on personal storage device, ipod, usb-key-thing, ...
      2. ???
      3. Profit!

      The point being: if a company is looking after people leaking info, the they're not really doing that, but actually looking for the idiots that need to be weeded out. Anyone *serious* about leaking anything wou

  • Waste of time? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jarich ( 733129 )
    This seems like quite a waste

    Until some moron starts harassing his ex-girlfriend from his work account and you company gets sued for umpteen million dollars. Then it would've made a lot of sense!

    You not lose the case, but the lawyer fees would probably make the monitoring look very attractive.

    Also, haven't you worked with at least one person dumb enough to try to mail out the company's source code or mail out resumes from their work account? I know I have.

    • I'm certainly not a big fan of the number of frivolous lawsuits in the US, but I do not believe it is possible to sue a company just because an employer does something illegal completely unrelated to the company using its email.
      • I'm certainly not a big fan of the number of frivolous lawsuits in the US, but I do not believe it is possible to sue a company just because an employer does something illegal completely unrelated to the company using its email.

        In the US, you can sue anyone for any reason.

        And the deep-pockets theory of slease jurisprudence says, Cast the net as wide as possible. It doesn't matter if "innocent 3rd parties" get caught up, too.
    • Until some moron starts harassing his ex-girlfriend from his work account and you company gets sued for umpteen million dollars.
      Something like that happened at the community college where I work. Normally, you can't use any computer on the school's network unless you log in on an account. However, the library has machines you can use without logging in, and somebody sent a death threat to a teacher from one of them.

      This has prompted the IT folks to push to stop allowing anonymous use of the library compu

  • Mea Culpa (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TFGeditor ( 737839 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @05:52PM (#12394085) Homepage
    At the magazine I edit, many of the department email address forward to me before they go to the department editors. Part of the reason is that some of the department editors can be, shall we say, less than diplomatic when dealing with incorrigible readers. Part of my job is to ensure that exchanges do not become denigrating or insulting, and to avoid lawsuits.

    • Re:Mea Culpa (Score:3, Insightful)

      At the magazine I edit, many of the department email address forward to me before they go to the department editors. Part of the reason is that some of the department editors can be, shall we say, less than diplomatic when dealing with incorrigible readers. Part of my job is to ensure that exchanges do not become denigrating or insulting, and to avoid lawsuits.

      When dealing with customers or other company related correspondence, having multiple eyes on the correspondence makes good sense for exactly th

  • by Henry V .009 ( 518000 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @05:52PM (#12394086) Journal
    What I find interesting is the distinction between email and phone use. It's illegal in many states -- may even be federal law for all I know -- to listen in on employee phone communication. Why doesn't email deserve this same protection?
    • What I find interesting is the distinction between email and phone use. It's illegal in many states -- may even be federal law for all I know -- to listen in on employee phone communication. Why doesn't email deserve this same protection?

      "Thank you for calling Widget inc... this call may be recorded for quality control purposes. "

      The rule of thumb in America at least is you can record telephone conversations so long as either one or both parties are aware it's being recorded depending on the state that i
      • It varies from state to state. In some states only one party need be informed of that recording is happening (usually the one doing the recording). Other states all parties need to be informed. Businesses hedge by informing that recording may happen so both parties are aware. If you don't want to be recorded, you say so to the first real person you talk to or you hang up. By continuing the call, you are seen as accepting the fact you may be recorded.
    • The rules usually (not everywhere) only apply to carrier-owned equipment and communication networks. Most companies own their own PBX and corporate phone systems these days, so are free to use it any way they see fit, including monitoring calls because the monitoring occurs before it hits the trunk lines.

      It's pretty simple - if the company owns it, they can use it as they see fit provided it is non-discriminatory. Common carrier rules do not apply because it is a privately-owned network. This applies to p

      • Most companies own their own PBX and corporate phone systems these days, so are free to use it any way they see fit, including monitoring calls because the monitoring occurs before it hits the trunk lines.

        That's true if you're monitoring a conversation between extensions on the same PBX, but if you're monitoring a conversation between one of your employees and someone outside your organization's system that goes over a common carrier, it's a much different story.
        • Actually, it's not.

          There's a specific exception in federal law that grants explicit permission for companies to monitor the lines they provide in the course of normal business. There are a number of articles that outline the business telephone exceptions in wiretapping.

          A number of states have implemented legislation which require the employer to notify the employee that the lines are for business use only and may be monitored. This is typically covered in an employment agreement under a blanket stateme

    • It's illegal in many states -- may even be federal law for all I know -- to listen in on employee phone communication. Why doesn't email deserve this same protection?

      Its not federal, its state by state. But email is different than the phone because it involves a computer. Most human's intelligence is at least halved as soon as a computer is involved. Just an observation I've made over the years. I set up a new email server for a department that I worked for and wrote very clear and explicit instructio
    • There is, but odds are, anyone who is employed signed away their rights to the expectation of privacy when they signed all of that paperwork that Human Resources gave them. They might've also signed it when requesting an e-mail account.

      If you're wondering, the US law [cornell.edu] in question is not a specific law, but a 1986 set of laws known as the 'Electronic Communications Protection Act'.

      There are also provisions in the law, so that system administrators are still allowed to do monitoring. (2511 (2)(a)(i)):

      It s

  • I mean seriously, it is THERE email servers/system.

    It's company resources - you are employed by them, for them.

  • The article cited about decreasing productivity was about managers using e-mail and other technology to track their employees and nag them, not about monitoring e-mail. Why on earth would monitoring their e-mail decrease a user's productivity?
  • What's really fun... (Score:5, Informative)

    by MrRage ( 677798 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @05:56PM (#12394111) Homepage
    is that you can legally get access to the sent and recieved email of graduate students, faculty, and staff at state runs schools under some open information act. Yeah, it's happened in my department.
    • How's that work exactly? I've heard people at my school mention that but I assume there has to be some kind of good reason.

      Surely someone can't just call up and say 'hey, I want to see all of this person's email'.

      I can guarantee that there's all kinds of sensetive information floating around on our email servers that shouldn't be given to the public.

      Where do you draw the line? If email is public information, what about everything stored on file servers and in databases.. is that public too?
      • Why are you not treating email as public now? Don't you realise it's not private nor confidential in any way? Why are you sending sensitive information over email presumably unencrypted?
  • Productivity? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by oniony ( 228405 )
    How does monitoring employees' email make them less productive? All of the monitoring products I've come across work transparently as a feature of the mail server.
  • liability issues (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dspacemonkey ( 776615 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @06:02PM (#12394156) Homepage
    When your company is liable for the one or two problematic emails to the tune of millions of pounds, it starts to seem slightly less silly.
  • by soft_guy ( 534437 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @06:03PM (#12394165)
    I worked for a company that was developing a software product for a single large customer. This customer is a very large technology company that had various factions in it that were for or against our product.

    My boss who was the engineering VP had told everyone repeatedly to be very careful about the kind of emails to send to them.

    The email that killed us was a "reply all" to a thread announcing that a build of our product that was available for evaluation. An engineer hit "reply all" and then proceeded to write a highly negative diatribe about the build. The reason why he did that was he was upset that he hadn't had time to put in a fix for some particular hardware configurations. Of course, we had months of development left in the project and his fix would have been in the next build. However, he did not state this very precisely, nor did he consider his audience.

    The folks who did not like our product (because they percieved it to be a threat to their political power within the company) used his email to convince the CEO of the customer company to cancel our project.

    I was in an "Oh Shit" meeting the next day with our CEO and the rest of senior management. Our CEO stated that he wanted to throw the engineer who sent the email off the roof of our building (which is maybe 25 floors). Ultimately this email lead to the layoff off of 130 out of 150 employees during the middle of the resession (November 2001) and ultimately the company limped along for another year before folding. Fortunately for me, I was positioned exactly right (politically) to be able to stay, but a lot of really good people lost jobs at the worst possible time.

    If that email had *not* been sent, we might have hung on long enough to ship the product. If that had happened, it would have meant that the people in the "customer" company would havee been promoted, our company would have made some money and maybe been acquired. I'd probably still be working there.

    That said, I have no problem with companies monitoring email.
    • First off, an e-mail filter would not have helped. Most of these have operator types doing the monitoring. It almost certain that they would have regard this as being in the norm, since they are not in the loop.

      2'nd, if this is the ONLY account that you have, why, oh why, where there multiple points of contact? There should be one POC and one engineer handling this.

    • Corporate culture (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "The folks who did not like our product (because they percieved it to be a threat to their political power within the company) used his email to convince the CEO of the customer company to cancel our project."

      Errr.... Yay team!???

      This more or less indicates that your company had bigger problems than that e-mail. If people who want to destroy the company are in a position to do so, they will. Blaming a nasty, ugly situation on one person seems to disregard the fact that there were a number of people,
      • Re:Corporate culture (Score:3, Interesting)

        by soft_guy ( 534437 )
        Yes, we had other problems. Yes, there were probably some other things we should have done besides have a human monitor on the email. For example, the other company had a re-org and my boss wanted our CEO to go out there and meet with their CEO during the re-org to make sure our project wasn't transferred to any manager in the "enemy camp", but our CEO thought it would be better not to do that. Something about "don't poke a stick into the hornets nest". In retrospect, my boss was right. He also wanted to ha
    • I wonder how human filtering can be effectively implemented at this level - an automated system being useless in these circumstances.

      The human filter for this case would have had to know all about the company's policy regarding communications with its client, plus a good deal about the application being developed. Multiply this by N times in large companies with multiple projects and clients. Throw in cases where a client's liaisons can/need to know about problems in development...

      Furthermore, there's alw

    • The customer who killed your project already had it in for you. They were going to get it killed no matter what, at any expense. Don't be so quick to point your finger, just because they used someone's email as a convenient excuse.

      If it wasn't that email, it would have been a different one or it would have been an article in Wall Street journal or a discussion of the weather or whatever.

      My point is, the reason they killed the project clearly has nothing to do with the email and it is terrible for yo
  • by Clinoti ( 696723 ) * on Saturday April 30, 2005 @06:04PM (#12394166)
    There are a lot of applications and environments that require any means of communication, storage, and media to be monitored. The three headed deity of Espionage: International, Industrial and Corporate, demand that you do so.

    The people who are hired to "spy" on their fellow co-workers are generally looking for those types of violations and if somewhere in the middle someone is sending out porn, or using their employment at a prestigious company for ulterior motives, or any other myriad of the violations of common (or clearly stated at the time of your hire) corporate network use and they get caught, well... the flour sifter has caught a few more flies.

    Despite the fact that we all work with them or are them, from the top tiers of management and from the shareholders viewpoint those violators are not the types of employees that you want to employ or want on the payroll.

    Companies tent to benefit from firing these people because they show to their employees and clients that they are there to do business and just business.

    If this was about ISP or the government spying on an individuals emails, then that would be a valid case and cause to rally the troops of the revolution, but when you are using someone elses network, someone elses resources, and being paid not to...well I don't really see the cause for concern.

  • Lawsuit insurance... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @06:06PM (#12394183)
    let's say employee X seends an email saying how much he hates minority group A, or how Secretary B should really be dating him if she wants to get ahead. Lawsuit city. Now, the resonable thing to do is sue the person who committed the crime. The profitable thing to do is sue the corporation, who then has to go out of it's way to prove they were doing something to prevent this kind of behavior.

    Moreover, with all the top heavy companies these days, all those managers have to find something to do with their time. You can only implement so many inane policies before the well runs dry.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    To be pedantic, in my opinion the problem is the 2/3 of companies that aren't monitoring e-mail. Corporate law holds companies liable for e-mail from any networking assets they own, so it does actually seem sane to monitor and restrict.
    The solution becomes obvious; if you want to send personal e-mail from work that might violate slander laws, threaten to assassinate the president, or contains childporn, send it via your own machine. I for one make sure that during working hours, all my personal e-mail goes
  • by standards ( 461431 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @06:12PM (#12394227)
    "While studies have shown that spying on workers tends to make them less productive, that hasn't stopped approximately 1/3 of all U.S. companies from employing email monitoring tools. 43% of those companies employ staff to check outgoing emails.

    The "study" referenced does not address eletronic monitoring of employees.

    The paper is about trusting employees to work from home and other "remote" locations. Evidently, Microsoft doesn't feel that employers should feel the need to physically watch over their employees - perhaps because remote office work could be beneficial to Microsoft's bottom line.

    To claim that this paper is an academic study referring to the negative aspects of corporate electronic monitoring is way off base. Instead, it smells like a Microsoft whitepaper promoting Microsoft products within UK employees' homes.
  • Only takes once. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @06:13PM (#12394233) Homepage Journal
    Using the same analogy that its not important is like not having a security guard at the front desk.. "well its only 1% of buildings that get broken into". Why have fire detection systems? So few places burn to the ground its just a "waste of time and money"

    It only takes one bad mail to kill a company. Either via leaving you liable or trade secrets, or even outright fraud.. Its not just about lost productivity of employees playing around with email instead of working. Need to change your 'its unfair' mindset. Its a business and you are being paid to work, it does not have to be fair.
    • This is not like a security guard that sits at the front desk - its like a security policy that requires a full body search every time someone enters the building. ie: sacrificing employee's privacy to protect company interests.
      • Privacy? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by nurb432 ( 527695 )
        What privacy ?

        You are AT work on the COMPANY OWNED premises, using computers owned BY THE COMPANY, being paid to ONLY produce. ( unless you have a job that pays you to not do anything.. )

        If you want privacy, go home where you have that right. But dont expect it at the office, as you DONT have that right. Pretty simple.
  • If someone really wants to send out inappropriate emails, they're going to figure out some other way to do so, such as via a free webmail account somewhere.

    But if you use a webmail, it's not coming from the company e-mail is it? So for the most part it's someone else's problem. It's one thing for Joe at Widget Inc to send off an e-mail from the Widget.com.... as any e-mail represents the company. I.e. if Joe says, "It's lunch time h'm going to download porn and masturbate at my desk" this would reflect
    • Webmail from work is still considered 'email' and they're probably within their rights to monitor/access your webmail. Of course it shouldn't be that way, but companies also shouldn't threaten to fire someone because their work email ends up the victim of a spam email campaign involving beastiality.

      The tech department thought it was amusing though and took care of it, but damn did my manager give me some strange looks after that.
  • simple solution (Score:2, Informative)

    carry around a copy of putty on a usb drive. if you're using a windoze machine at work, insert the usb drive, fire up putty, and secure shell to a machine that will allow you to send as much email as you please.

    this also assumes that you have shell access somewhere. but don't we all?

    of course they could go ape shit and block port 25 on you.
  • My own personal belief is that this stems from resource control. Companies pay their employees for the time and they pay service providers for the connection and that meny gets wasted when people are not doing their jobs and the resources are being used for personal gain. I know it seems like a small thing but it probably stems from an "all of nothing" policy.

    In addition, as someone earlier pointed out in an earlier post, the company may also be shielding itself from litigation if one staff member is creat
  • A couple of our clients are rabid about corporate espionage. So much so that our people working on their accounts have to sign NDA's from them, work in a separate area, and other such lunacy. One of their requirements is to have some sort of email monitoring on our end.

    And while you may say 'just don't do business with them', that's pretty impossible. They are the two biggest on the planet in their field. To the tune of pumping us tens of millions $$ per year.

  • Moral priorities (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sbenj ( 843008 )
    Many people have noted here already that there are legal implications, and perhaps practical reasons why one might want to monitor. I think there's another dimension to this entirely. Putting aside entirely the question of whether or not an employer has the legal right to monitor your email (and given that legal rights can often be purchased by large enough economic players, e.g. Credit card companies & the recent bankruptcy law changes, so I don't take them as a usefull guideline to what is or is not
  • by dominion ( 3153 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @06:35PM (#12394354) Homepage

    Whenever unions are brought up on Slashdot, they're usually in the context of low wages or long hours.

    But here's another prime example of where some kind of union could prevent this kind of invasion of privacy (and waste of money). But without any kind of organization that can negotiate on the behalf of the employees, most workers just have to take it.

    Now before the Libertarians get their briefs in a bunch, no, a corporation has no legal responsibility to respect the freedom of speech of it's employees. Yes, employees are free to find another job. But sometimes those excuses just aren't good enough.
    • Having your email monitored at work is not an "invasion of privacy."
      • Having your email monitored at work is not an "invasion of privacy."

        Right up until you forward that memo about selling equipment to yourself at a substantial markup to make your quarterly report look like you're doing a lot of business and getting a lot of money flowing through your company to the FBI and the SEC and you get fired and the memo gets disappeared. "Of course this person is making it up, they were just fired and are trying for revenge!"
  • Why not just log all email on the system and if someone makes a complaint then you can find the specific email in the log. For the extra paranoid you set up the log so that it cannot be read by anyone without alerting someone/everyone that its been read, that way theres no private peeking. If you're worried about espionage then you need to just ban all forms of communication in and out of your building and strip search for portable hard drives (heh) and hope no-one has a photographic memory. Someone could e
  • by jerkychew ( 80913 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @06:54PM (#12394470) Homepage
    "Yet, the companies are buying up expensive tools and hiring staff to watch just in case they catch the one or two problematic emails that go over the corporate network."

    I've worked for companies under investigation by the SEC for inappropriate behavior. Sometimes "one or two" emails is all it takes to break the law and cause a company's stock to plummet.

    My current company 'buys up expensive tools' and 'hires extra staff' to run backups on the network, just in case one or two problematic hard drive failures occur. Why is it ok to monitor company hardware but not ok to monitor company communications?
  • IMHO, companies should not actively monitor, but they should keep a "paper" trail for a certain amount of time. I am against active monitoring, but if a problem arises it is crucial to have history to refer to. My company keeps email records for contractors only, but doesn't waste the resources (or ethical capital) to examine them. However, at least once it has proven invaluable. We once caught a contractor stealing trade secrets and transmitting them to a cohort via email. He probably would have gotten awa
  • corporate secrets (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pompatus ( 642396 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @07:15PM (#12394599) Journal
    A friend of mine used to work in the IT department of a major casino. Apparently all casinos have a huge database of everyone that plays, what they play, how often, etc.. This database is highly valuable to other casinos. I've heard that rival casinos will pay 10-20k for it.

    So someone with access to it is about to sell it. Naturally all the email filters are in place and she was smart enough not to try that. So she figured she would just print it out and walk out with it. She got caught, however, when she called the IT department because the print server crashed. Apparently, sending a 10,000 page document to a print server doesn't quite work as well as one might hope.
  • TFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by Panaphonix ( 853996 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @07:19PM (#12394625) Journal
    that hasn't stopped approximately 1/3 of all U.S. companies from employing email monitoring tools.
    Why not link to the source [chicagotribune.com] for your source (login [bugmenot.com])? The ITFacts.biz story got it wrong anyway: "33% of US companies monitor employees' e-mail" is wrong--the direct quote was "Almost 33 percent of 140 North American businesses..." You and ITFacts were off wrt the number and the sample. Oh, and the Tribune article was merely a syndicated column, using data from a nearly year-old study [bizjournals.com]. Not exactly news. Where did I find that out? Look, it's ITFacts.biz! [itfacts.biz] Yep, TFA was a double post.

    Let's continue because we are not done fixing your post:
    43% of those companies employ staff to check outgoing emails.
    Wrong. It's "more than 43%" of companies with over 20,000 employees (not 43% of monitoring companies), according to the study. The one-third figure expands the sample to include all companies.

    It is also worth noting that the study in question was sponsored by ProofPoint, which in fact sells monitoring software [proofpoint.com]. So you could say that Forrester had a financial interest in high-balling the figure (which it appears they did, with all this "almost 33%" business).
  • Any company would be foolish NOT to implement some sort of email monitoring or archival. Why?

    1) Liability. If something is sent by company equipment, by a company employee, it becomes the companys responsibility. At my current employer, we had a customer service rep go rogue and send a nasty, racist email to a customer via yahoo mail, using our equipment. We narrowly escaped a lawsuit by doing some serious sucking up. thankfully, we kept logs of all web based activity and were able to prove who it was and
    • The worst offender was found to have 48% non work related emails by volume. That translated into approximately 2 hours of wasted time PER DAY.

      Let me guess: This time figure is based on the implicit assumption that zapping off the latest joke takes exactly the same amount of time as drafting and sending a preliminary report.

  • Well seems like the slashdot crowd havent heard about the recent NZ police porn scandal (which has been a huge deal in the media!)

    Streaming video of news: http://www.xtra.co.nz/streaming/0,,10550-4309851-3 00,00.html [xtra.co.nz]

    txt: http://xtramsn.co.nz/news/0,,11981-4311659,00.html [xtramsn.co.nz]

    "A police audit has found that about 20 percent of email capacity was taken up with pornographic images, and 300 officers are under investigation for having pornography on work computers. "

    now, perhaps monitoring software could ha
  • by beforewisdom ( 729725 ) on Saturday April 30, 2005 @08:34PM (#12395052)
    I went to an orientation once for a big contracting firm and one of the managers had what I thought was a great way for everyone to think about using email at the office.

    In a nutshell, he said people should think of using a company PC the way they already think about using a company office phone.

    Nobody minds an occasional call( now email ) to take care of a small personal issue, but people do care if they spend if you spend all day on the phone ( email ).

    By the same token, people in most jobs do not expect their office line to be tapped and the contents monitored.

Time to take stock. Go home with some office supplies.

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