b Self-Helpless: True Tales of a Working Girl: Think Your Emails Are Secure? Think Again.

12/04/2006

 

Think Your Emails Are Secure? Think Again.

An MSNBC article I just read confirms what I’ve suspected for a long time: your emails and IMs at work are most likely tracked and saved.

I know there are those of you who truly believe that personal use of company email is your right (after all, how are you supposed to get all of your personal business done otherwise?). Although it doesn’t sound like everyone’s transactions will be saved and/or monitored, it’s probably best to err on the side of caution. If you’re going to use company email for personal use, you really (really!) need to proceed with caution.

This is especially the case for those of you that use company email for social purposes – don’t do this! You may be completely justified in bashing your bat-$#@%-crazy manager, but if – heaven forbid – you got fired and contested it… yeah, they’d go through your emails and blow your case up. Not only that… you could get sued just on the basis that you’re sending such emails.

At the same time, you could be using emails for other personal reasons and get nailed for that. If the powers that be feel you’re using their email too much for your own purposes, it can be grounds on which they fire you. I know, I know, you do it during your lunch hour… but you know as well as I do that it sometimes extends beyond that. Not only that, but companies know it. All I’m saying is: Be Careful.

Aside from email, Big Boss is probably watching your use of the Internet as well. They can (and most likely do) track which web sites you visit. Even if you do this on your lunch hour, you’ll be watched. I’d be very careful about where you visit. I’m not one to talk on that matter, as I visited job sites frequently when I still worked for my former employer. I worked on the resume and sent emails only from my home computer, but I did go looking to see what listings were out there. It made me feel like I was doing something which helped me cope with the nonsense in front of me. But of course, if management confronted me with it and tried to fire me, they could have – with reason.

It’s great that we have all this technology readily available at our fingertips… good or bad, it is what it is. But you need to keep in mind that there’s a record of everything, and it could cost you your job if you’re not careful.

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