Legal or not

Posted on 2004-09-10
Last Modified: 2010-04-11
According to privacy law: it is legal to read staff's email by Boss at work place because Boss owns that computer and network.

Is it still exits, or it applies according to countires rules and regultaion.

Is it legal to track people what they are doing online?.

Question by:happyprogramming
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Expert Comment

ID: 12032622
Yes a company has the right to track how you use their resources...aka...their computer, their internet connection, their networking equipment.  So yes they can track every single website you visit, and what time and how long you spend on it.  It is all legal.


Author Comment

ID: 12033167
So boss can read staff's email.,

If network administrator can read his/her staff's email during work time then why he/she can not read that emai at Home.

or there is diff law for diff conditions? Does really privacy law exits, coz most of them do not follow it at all.

Does privacy law allows to do whatever Company boss like to do, coz he is the owner?
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Expert Comment

ID: 12033207
Simply yes.  There is a difference between privacy and monitoring your network.  Do network admins have access to e-mail, yes....should they read  I have access to thousands of accounts but i don't read any e-mail because it is none of my business.  However, if someone was suspected of doing something illegal and his supervisor or boss requested his mailbox to be checked or that he be watched as far as Internet access for let's say porn sites then this would be done.

Is is legal because most people sign an agreement of computer use.  Or it is spelled out in company policies.  Companies can read e-mail as it is their mail server and their network and domain name.  You are just allowed to use it for business purpose it is not for your personal use.  You can use your personal e-mail at work but just realize the traffic and connection you are using is owned by the company and they have the right to know what it is being used for.  Some companies incur monetary costs for internet usage/bandwidth usage.  There are many reaons why companies have the right whether you or I like it.  There have been court cases and ultimately the companies have the right to is not fair to read private things but according to companies you should use your PC to work not to chat or do personal things....while most companies are lenient as long as it is in good taste and while it doesn't affect your work some are not and dislike people using the computer or other resources such as the phone for personal use.  Such as long distance phone calls.  I don't know your specific situation but if you are looking for a specific answer to a scenario that you are in...will need more details....
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Author Comment

ID: 12033234
Yha thanks alot for you answer yha it makes sense to me.

But i am confused does really provacy exits, ta as u told that ppl signs the online privacy, but as i know user never read that policy. Does this policy is really helps them when there will be any court case or legal case, though user sign it with our reading it.

But if the network admin has access to email, how can one be sure that they don;t read emails?

But if networ admin access emails from home in that case?

Thanx dis1931

Author Comment

ID: 12033273
You Have SAid
-->"Do network admins have access to e-mail, yes....should they read"

What does actually "access" means in this situation?

can u explain me what is the diff between "access" and "read" in this case?

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Accepted Solution

dis1931 earned 130 total points
ID: 12033378
By access i mean that I know if I want just by logging in as myself I can open anyone's I have access to their mail....but I don't read it...cause there is no business need and I respect their privacy....and it is not my business how they use e-mail as long as they are not affecting the network with spam, viruses, etc....though a supervisor might be concerned about other things....a previous company i worked for could create reports at a supervisors request that listed websites visited, length of time on the website...this counted the amount of time it was open i believe so it was not necessarily accurate if window was left open but at least gave an idea of how many webpages and what the content was.  Though i didn't care as long as it didn't affect the network...cause it wasn't my business.  Obviosuly things like porn, and bearshare things like that were blocked for a reason and that would trigger something with me if I noticed any pattern that didn't seem accidental...because it was against policy and it was my job to enforce that.  

Simply access is like having the keys to a bank safe and read is like using your keys to open the bank safe and stick some money in your pocket or maybe just count it and see how much is in there.....

If you never read the policy for computer use or privacy and signed it then you are at signed it you have to abide by it and yes it will hold up in court unless the agreement is somehow illegal which most aren't.  

You can't be sure that admins don't read e-mails...for every couple of admins that are responsible and would never read e-mail of another co-worker despite having access there is an admin that will read and make fun of people based on e-mail or something they really shouldn't have been in anyway.  The bottom line is if you do it at work don't expect privacy.....don't visit and expect your company to be are working for time is not browsing for a new job time.  

If a network admin accesses e-mail from home it is no different than accessing it from work....there are legitimate reasons and not legitimate reasons.  However, you will have a hard time proving that he did access it and bottom line is you shouldn't care.

The best policy is to not do things on your PC at work that you would not want admins, or your boss seeing.  Wait till after work to search for jobs, or send nasty messages about your boss, and don't use your work e-mail for personal correspondences especially if you want them to be private.  

I know a lady that was having marital problems and had e-mail saved to her work account from her husband that she planned on using as evidence in court but during a mail conversion her mailbox got corrupted and hence unrevoverable....she lost all this and was mad but Infotech turned the other way and said not my problem and that was it....this was personal info...not work info....she had no real complaint...her superiors didn't care as it wasn't work related....

Author Comment

ID: 12033418
Thanx a lot for making me clear as u r in industry so thanx for ur clear answer.

Is there any written law for this issues?

or any links?

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Expert Comment

ID: 12033442

Here are few I can search for things like workplace computer privacy or similar and find tons of stories, articles, laws, etc....


Author Comment

ID: 12033443
I like to read this article, is it availabel online:

-->"I know a lady that was having marital problems and had e-mail saved to her work account from her husband that she planned on using as evidence in court but during a mail conversion her mailbox got corrupted and hence unrevoverable....she lost all this and was mad but Infotech turned the other way and said not my problem and that was it....this was personal info...not work info....she had no real complaint...her superiors didn't care as it wasn't work related"

Interesting story, is this available online.?
LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 12034584
No not available actually was a personal experience that I had at one of my jobs....the lady was fairly mad as you can imagine.


Author Comment

ID: 12034894
Is 4th Amendment protects email privacy?

What are the laws that try to protect the email privacy.?

Electronic Communications Privacy Act can protect email privacy?


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