When Leaving Yahoo To Work For A Competitor, Don't Discuss Plans On Yahoo IM

from the just-a-suggestion dept

Yahoo has apparently sued mobile gaming company Mforma, claiming that a bunch of Yahoo employees left together to go to Mforma and took with them trade secrets. These sorts of disputes are fairly common, and usually end in some kind of settlement (in fact, Yahoo just settled a very similar lawsuit that was directed at them). However, what's interesting here is that the Yahoo employees apparently discussed their plans on company laptops using Yahoo's instant messaging program. It's not entirely clear what they discussed, and whether or not it really is directly relevant. However, it still seems like a good idea, that if you are thinking of ditching Yahoo to work somewhere else with a group of your co-workers, you probably shouldn't discuss those plans using Yahoo's own communications tools. Just a thought.

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  • identicon
    gh, 27 Feb 2006 @ 9:35pm

    No Subject Given

    Does this mean that Yahoo! records your conversations so they can review them?

    How did they find this information out? Do they only go through all their own employees logs? Were the logs from their laptops, or from Yahoo's servers?

    Are the employees told their logs will be read in clear terms? Or is it really the that we should all expect someone is reviewing everything that we say?

    I know it feels that way, but if it truly is that way, its a big leap.

    I know about Echelon, but this is a private company, and not email which obviously does reside on their servers. IM is supposed to be person to person without intermediaries.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2006 @ 9:41pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      From the article -- "Drawing heavily from archived instant-messaging conversations ..."

      It doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling to know that Yahoo archives IM conversations. It would be a worthwhle research article for someone to review the privacy policies of each of the major IM services.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        me, 27 Feb 2006 @ 10:08pm

        Re: No Subject Given

        Yahoo IM has a built-in archive setting under the Messenger/preferences/Archive menu. When you turn this on, your messages are saved to disk by recipient.

        It's not surprising Yahoo would check this info if the laptops were company-pwned (whoops, little l33t h@x0R slipped in there). NEVER assume anything you do on a company laptop is private, esp. if you and a bunch of your friends are about to jump ship for the same company.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Jeff, 28 Feb 2006 @ 12:18pm

        Re: No Subject Given

        It's possible that those "archives" were on their laptops. I keep copies of all of my IM conversations.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2006 @ 9:42pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      Many companies keep records of all messages forever or close to it. I've seen many court cases where im's are retrieved 5 years after they were sent. Or in this case SMS.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      voice of warning, 27 Feb 2006 @ 9:51pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      I am amazed at how amny people still believe that anything they communicate on the internet, short of being uber encrypted, is private.

      email isn't private, IM isn't private, in each, since there is an itermediary, everyone should expect that anything they say can and will be read by someone other than they intended. Not only that, nothing prevents people from publishing those communications, including IM logs. (Not to mention the IM filter applications and boxes that log all IM activity on a corporate network)

      You have been warned, now carry on, I have some emails to read - Ted over in accounting is having a fight with his soon to be ex-girlfriend....

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TJ, 27 Feb 2006 @ 11:30pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      Companies like IM-Logic and others having IM Capture soft/hard-ware. In our company we know that all IM traffic is been captured (Y!,MSN,AOL, others) and archived for legal reasons. You should never assume that no one is listening into you conversation. Privacy is long gone.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Nathan Mallamace, 28 Feb 2006 @ 3:23am

        Re: No Subject Given

        In regards to your statement "Privacy is long gone" you're wrong. It was never there to start. In fact if you're a company like Y!, MSN, AOL, you better CYA because there are a lot of fools out there that are willing to use your service for illegal reasons.

        Furthermore, who's going to watch out for the terrorists?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kolya, 27 Feb 2006 @ 10:06pm

    There's a distinction to be made . .

    . . .between using IM at work on work provided machines and using IM "privately" meaning on your own time and on your own machine.
    Anyone working at any decent sized company should assume that all communications of any kind belong to that company and are subject to interception/retrieval. Those folks who were leaving were naive or dumb not to assume this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jerry F, 27 Feb 2006 @ 11:36pm

    No Subject Given

    I've always assumed that Yahoo IM is stored somewhere on a hard drive over at Yahoo.
    Something you might want to consider is an IM encryption program. I use SimpLite, http://www.secway.com.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bigfatdummy, 28 Feb 2006 @ 2:48am

    No Subject Given

    Most company handbooks/policies now state that all communication is the property of the company and not the individual users. We (at my company) recently had to let an accountant go. The accountant emailed sensitive material (bank account information, tax id, etc) to his/her personal email account. Lucky for us our IT guy caught it and reported it to us. Logs can be a wonderful thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    PaulM, 28 Feb 2006 @ 6:46am

    use OTR or similar

    There are SSL options for IM clients, but that only stops a network snooper from collecting your messages, it still means you have to trust the IM server.

    So, use "Off The Record" (OTR) - there's a plugin for gaim - which means that you don't have to trust the IM server.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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