Don't Forget Your Employer Might Be Looking At Your IMs, Too
from the big-brother dept
It’s pretty common workplace knowledge that many companies keep tabs on employees’ email and web-surfing habits, whether they’re actively policing them, or just saving information for possible future use. While common sense would dictate that a company could track nearly anything that goes across its network or happens on one of its machines, some people don’t use the same discretion in using instant-messaging programs at work as they do when they’re using a work email account. But two recent scandals highlight that IM isn’t as private as many people might perceive it to be, as chat transcripts have played a significant role in both the HP spying fiasco and the controversy surrounding former Congressman Mark Foley, who sent sexually explicit IMs to underage boys. In the HP case, the company’s investigators monitored chats between an employee and a reporter; Foley was exposed after other Congressional pages gave saved chat transcripts to the media. While the methods used differ, they both illustrate that IMs may not disappear into a black hole once a chat session is closed. Of course, that’s not really news, but it might be worth reinforcing to some people — like the Yahoo employees that discussed their plans to jump ship to another company over Yahoo Messenger.