Career Advice: You're Not Paranoid; They Are Watching You
by Ramon Greenwood
Beware! Big Brother is monitoring your use of e-mails and instant messaging. Anything you send or receive can come back to bite you in the rear end.
This reality is attested to by the recent red-hot glare of publicity focused on directors of Hewlett-Packard in their attempt to identify those who leaked confidential information and the scandal surrounding Florida Congressman Mark Foley.
Before you conclude it's not happening at your place of employment consider these statistics just released by the American Management Association. Of the companies surveyed:
76% of the companies surveyed monitor internet usage; 55% store and review e-mail; 51% use video surveillance; 50% store and review computer usage; 22% record phone calls.
The first concern of these monitoring tactics is preventing leaks of confidential information. Blocking out viruses and hackers come next. But it follows that those monitoring your internet practices also turn up visits to porn sites, company gossip, criticisms of bosses and organizations, purchases made on line and personal information.
Also, many companies routinely sweep hotel conference rooms and other outside places for electronic-listening devices before confidential meetings are held.
Other employers are looking into software to be applied to cell phones.
Don't waste your time protesting that these tactics are a violation of your rights to privacy. Know that generally speaking it is legal for companies to monitor their own corporate telephone records as well as computer and e-mail use on their own corporate accounts.
Stop, think before you post or open any message on the Internet; realize you are leaving a digital trail that theoretically will be floating around in Cyberspace forever.
Common sense says "Never post or open anything on the company's computers that you wouldn't want to see appear on the bulletin boards where you work."
Ramon Greenwood may be contacted at http://www.commonsenseatwork.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Ramon Greenwood, Senior Career Counselor, Common Sense At Work, is a former Senior Vice President of American Express. To subscriber to his f*ee semi-monthly newsletter and blog please go to http://www.CommonSenseAtWork.com