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How can I protect privacy at work


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#1
oxford

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Hi All

It seems this is a very technical forum but I will post my concern anyway. Hoping someone could help...

I'm quite sure that our IT officer is spying on my computer: checking my emails and chats on messenger and skype,etc. Is it possible to stop him?
once I was back from leave and he had to change the operating systems. When I came back and started my computer, Y!Messenger started automatically and I was connected!
Today I was connected to Yahoo and then my computer logged me off for no reason.
Is there somewhere in the system he can find my passwords? Can I do something to protect my intimacy?
thanks for support...

oxford
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#2
phillpower2

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:welcome: oxford

There is a lot of guidance for you to read below, please do not see it as a lecture as the information that I have provided explains how a couple of minutes browsing the internet for a new pair of shoes can have dire consequences.

Yours is a difficult question to answer with 100% certainty, this because we have no knowledge of what the arrangement is with the company that employs the staff there and the personal use by employees of the computers that are provided for work purposes, the general rule of thumb is that the computer and all of the data that is kept on any storage device connected to the said computer is and remains the property of the company until the computer/s and the data stored on them are disposed off through means that the company will have in place.

As you have an IT department there will be an authorized person who has overall responsibility for the computers and the accepted use of them, in a work place environment this person will be the overall System Administrator and I am sorry to say that unless there is documented proof that you are allowed to use the computer for personal use which may include personal data being stored on the HDD which will remain accessible by you alone by being password protected, the System Administrator can access any computer at any time with impunity, apart from the regular maintenance of the computers and the system software that is what the System Administrator is employed for.

Other considerations are the fact that as your computer is part of a network it can be accessed remotely without you knowing about it (even when you are working on it) that the company that you are employed by will be paying a considerable amount of cash for internet access and they may not take too kindly to employees adding to that cost and finally heaven forbid that it should happen your computer could become infected by malware while you are on the internet (even ebay and FB) and this has the potential to corrupt the whole of the companies computer network.

Unless you have the written permission to use the computer for the personal use that I mention above I would strongly advise that you use the computer/s for nothing other than work duties, if you do have written permission that covers personal use which may include personal data being stored on the HDD which will remain accessible by you alone by being password protected, you should approach the System Administrator and inform them of your concerns and have them look into it, if the IT officer that you mention in your OP happens to also be the System Administrator then follow procedure and speak to them first and if the situation is not resolved to your satisfaction you should take the matter to your immediate superior and have them take the matter up.

Finally, keep in mind that if you use the computer for nothing other than work you will have no need to worry about "your intimacy" as there will be no personal information on the computer and last but not least, inappropriate use of company equipment and paid working hours can and most often does result in disciplinary action being taken against the employee/s concerned.
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#3
oxford

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thanks phillpower2. I guess I'll just have to stop reading and sending personal emails at work(Even though I usually work very late and I hardly have time to connect at home except on weekends). I didn't know it was so easy to find my passwords...
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#4
phillpower2

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You are most welcome oxford :)

As per my reply #2

I am sorry to say that unless there is documented proof that you are allowed to use the computer for personal use which may include personal data being stored on the HDD which will remain accessible by you alone by being password protected, the System Administrator can access any computer at any time with impunity

As an employer myself I would find it totally unacceptable for any member of staff to have their own password/s on company computers and that is why the privilege is unavailable to them, prevention is better than cure ;)
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#5
Madhava Verma Dantuluri

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Very good said and so much useful tips.
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#6
phillpower2

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Thank you Madhava Verma Dantuluri :thumbsup:

A belated welcome to GTG btw :wave:
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#7
Geneva17

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Is spying on someone else's computer legal? I thought that they can't do that without warning you.
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#8
phillpower2

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An individuals personal home computer yes, a computer that is the property of an employer that pays staff to use the computers for company business only no, keep in mind that most if not all large businesses will have employees sign as part of their contract of employment an acceptable usage agreement regarding company computers and the data that they contain on the storage devices.

Having Administrator rights over a work computer system is not spying, checking that the computers are running correctly and securely is what an IT Administrator is employed for and to do this effectively they need 100%, 24/7 and 365 days a year access to the entire works computer network, there will be passwords in place to secure the computer system which the Administrator will have to gain complete access, they will not need to hack in like a criminal, now that would not be legal.
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#9
Lemurian

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Most companies usually have some paper describing their computer privacy policy. And people often sign it without reading. I also personally know admins that are ordered to "spy" (in fact just watch the employees doing their work) at people without letting them know. Some managers even use a trick like inputing a legend about administration watching the activities of employees, although they don't do it in fact. That often happens in small and medium companies. And as to "is it legal?" - that depends on a country's legislature and the company's agreement with the worker. 

 

Is spying on someone else's computer legal? I thought that they can't do that without warning you.

 

privacy


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#10
HolyCowZ

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A lot of IT places I have worked at have monitoring software to see what the staff are doing/typing on there computers as a security precaution. You could ask if it's Ok to bring a laptop in and do your emails in your lunch hour that way no one can spy on you legally they may say no but you never know. Stick a vpn on to encrypt your traffic and your away.

You should always check to see if its OK first and get the OK from your boss and IT as you don't want the sack.


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