A Question Of Personal Privacy

According to an American Management Association survey, just over half of employers review and retain employees’ email messages. Three out of four employers monitor the internet usage of their workers.

Federal workers are now being told by their unions that every keystroke on their computers is being recorded and scrutinized. This is not just in departments such as Homeland Security, but in every Social Security office in the country.

This scrutiny is not simply of the computer’s hard-drive, but also covers private email accounts such as Hotmail and Gmail. If an employee accesses their private online email account from their work’s computer, the content can be intercepted and read by their employer.

There is something incredibly sinister, to my mind, in the manner employers and government consider this to be their justifiable right. Because they own the computers, does not give them any moral right to pry into an employees’ personal life, simply because it can be accessed online. If an employee accesses their bank account during lunch hour to check a balance, is that information then available to the employer?

Most likely, it is.

There are few laws relating to this subject, and there should be a damn sight more – protecting the employee. It’s not likely to happen though, unless we the public, demand such action of our political representatives.

After all, the government owns all the postal equipment used to deliver our mail, but that doesn’t give it the right to open and peruse anything it cares to.

At least, so we are led to believe.

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4 Replies to “A Question Of Personal Privacy”

  1. File under Big Brother is right. Most people think that if they do nothing wrong, they don’t care who listens in. Who is to say the spies are doing nothing wrong also? I think this is a completely corrupt government and their motives are not benign at all. Terrorists don’t even use technology to communicate – they know how vulnerable it is.

  2. My brother works for the surveillance industry as a free agent. He helps to develop ‘security’ software that gathers information from anyone who uses a computer. He tells me that there used to be a lot of little programs that did this via cookies for marketing statistics, but understandably the information was kept secret and all the programs operated independently of each other.

    My brother’s achievement was in developing and selling a program that could break open each of the little programs and devour all the information inside, to render a ‘super report’ on any computer user within five seconds. His customers? The CIA, FBI, CSIS, Homeland Security, European intelligence agencies, various gov’t. departments like Health and Welfare, corporate personnel departments and, of course, advertising companies. He tells me that EVERYONE is monitored. Automatically. As soon as they sign on. And after they sign off.

    That was 11 years ago. He’s sold his program around the world and has since moved on to developing more efficient software for sale to the highest bidder. Oddly, he completely distances himself from the consequences of his actions, and even from the possible abuses of his software. He tells me he’s working for the good of democracy and public welfare in general, and feels that he’s earned his megabucks as some sort of a moral reward.

    No, we’re not exchanging Christmas cards this year.

    And you can file that under ‘little brother’.

  3. Flimsy – most people do think they have nothing to worry about, but ‘wrong’ and ‘right’ are very subjective and can change depending on the political tide. There seems to be two camps in America, those demanding government at all costs and those demanding no government at any cost. Neither seems to realize that government is essential, but it has to be good government. Bad government is never worse than none at all – example: Saddam Hussein’s Iraq – but it is so marginally better it often seems worse than none at all. Governments that use Big Brother tactics on their citizens are bad governments. Which leaves very few good ones!

    Anan – you’ve just convinced me. I am in favor of Sharia Law. Please may I be the one to hurl your little brother from the tallest building?

  4. Sadly, Mr. Adams, said ‘harsh and merciless’ law demands that i keep well the ties of kith and kin.

    But.

    If i find a loophole, i get first divvies.
    (puts kickin’ boots on)

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