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    Computerworld: Employee monitoring: When IT is asked to spy

    Computerworld reports on the issue of employee privacy  in the workplace.

    As corporate functions, including voice and video, converge onto IP-based networks, more corporate infractions are happening online. Employees leak intellectual property or trade secrets, either on purpose or inadvertently; violate laws against sexual harassment or child pornography; and waste time while looking like they are hard at work.

    In response — spurred in part by stricter regulatory, legal and compliance requirements — organizations are not only filtering and blocking Web sites and scanning e-mail. Many are also watching what employees post on social networks and blogs, even if it’s done from home using noncompany equipment.

    They are collecting and retaining mobile phone calls and text messages. They can even track employees’ physical locations using the GPS feature on smartphones.

    More often that not, IT workers are the ones being asked to do the digital dirty work, primarily because they’re the people with the technical know-how to get the job done, says Nancy Flynn, executive director of the ePolicy Institute. […]

    Yet most IT professionals never expected they’d be asked to police their colleagues and co-workers in quite this way. How do they feel about this growing responsibility?

    [Michael Workman, an associate professor at the Florida Institute of Technology,] says he sees a split among tech workers. Those who specialize in security issues feel that it’s a valid part of IT’s job. But those who have more of a generalist’s role, such as network administrators, often don’t like it.

    2 Responses to “Computerworld: Employee monitoring: When IT is asked to spy”

    1. Freedom Offshore Says:

      This is a huge pet peave. Employers who spy on employees personal, private computers. Its bad enough you are forced to spend 20 hours a day at the office, or at home working on office stuff. Now they are policing your other 4 hours as well.

      Most companies use a type of virtual desktop system for their employees to work at home. Which is as far as the security should go. Just what is viewed or browsed through the virtual desktop. They justify being able to spy on everything because your home computer is attached to the corporate network. They can protect their network from any “virus” activity by limiting you to virtual desktop. And, they can limity your “outside” access to the internet while you are connected to corp net. But, they are super concerned that you might do something else that would reflect bad on the company. So they justify spying on you even if you aren’t on the corp net at all by installing spyware directly on your PC instead of just monitoring the traffic through their network..

    2. kellybriefworld Says:

      It’s crazy to me to think that social media has become such a problem to IT departments that they are now spying on their own employees. Why not have a system in place that blocks certain harmful parts of social media and have some beneficial parts accessible to employees? Then IT wouldn’t have to worry about what is going on with an employee’s social media activity and could focus on something productive. I found a few whitepapers created by Palo Alto Networks, they might have a solution to this growing problem. Here are the links about managing and securing facebook and twitter: http://bit.ly/9twcQMTwitter and http://bit.ly/bsrh9CFacebook

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