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I would like to go on record by saying provided the employee knows
that
he/she is under
surveillance, the use of such tools at large companies are definitely
indicated. The company can and will be held responsible for anything
the
employee says or does.
Dick Montgomery
21st Century Cooperative

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Rick Barry" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Tuesday, March 07, 2000 6:24 PM
Subject: Keystroke Loggers Save It, So Companies Can Peek Inside
Employees'Heads


Please ignore cross-postings.

For those of you interested in privacy issues, there is a chilling
front
page
story
about keystroke monitoring software today's (7 Mar) Wall Street
Journal, a
few
paras of which are quoted below.  These tools permit organizations to
record
every keystroke of every document, including the history of changes. 
It
isn't limited to email.  In one of the examples, it was a work in
progress --
a draft, reconstructed letter by letter, typos and all that resided
only in
the creator's PC.

This story is potentially of interest to archives & RM professionals
from a
totally different perspective, in that the very same technology that is
used
to monitor employee use of computers in the workplace could also be
used for
nobler purposes to automatically assign meta-tags to electronic
records
according to document content, e.g., to associate the record with an
appropriate business process and schedule, and thus permit automated
or
computer-assisted records disposition management actions.  One can
quickly
see that automated context analyzers, much needed for electronic
records
purposes, will raise issues as to how such uses can be controlled in
ways to
ensure reasonable protection of individual privacy.  And also the
question:
what is 'reasonable'?

In the US like most other countries,  consumer protection laws always
lag
well behind technology. As noted in this story, for example, while
phone
tapping of phones is illegal, tapping into ones computer is not. 
Needless
to
say, in today's global economy, many people work in multi-national
companies
such as Exxon and several other large corporations that are reported in
the
article as users of this
technology and are thus vulnerable in the absence of national or state
laws
prohibiting such things.

Unfortunately, as chilling as this story is, it also reveals workplace
abuses
that companies use to justify the necessity for such software, again
raising
the question of balancing the right to privacy with the right to know.

Regards

Rick Barry
www.rbarry.com 
And in another capacity that relates to this post:
Mid-Atlantic Director, Computer Professionals for Social
Responsibility
<www.cpsr.org>, a non-profit, public-interest alliance of computer
scientists, practitioners and users concerned about the social impact
of
computer technology, financed mainly by dues from an increasingly
international membership base.

============================
Wall Street Journal
March 7, 2000

Thinking Out Loud

You Assumed 'Erase' Wiped Out That Rant Against the Boss?  Nope
Keystroke Loggers Save It, So Companies Can Peek Inside Employees'
Heads

By MICHAEL J. MCCARTHY
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The American workplace has been put on notice that office computers can
be
monitored. But who could have imagined the keystroke cops?

In a new threat to personal privacy on the job, some companies have
begun
using surveillance software that covertly monitors and records each
keystroke
an employee makes: every letter, every comma, every revision, every
flick of
the fingertip, regardless of whether the data is ever saved in a file
or
transmitted over a corporate computer network. As they harvest those
bits
and
bytes, the new programs, priced at as little as $99, give employers
access
to
workers' unvarnished thoughts -- and the potential to use that
information
for their own ends.
GC&.
The Investigator program is designed to be covert. It doesn't show up
as an
icon on the screen, and is hard to find among computer files even when
someone specifically searches for it. It is usually installed on a
worker's
computer after hours, but it can also be disguised in an e-mail
attachment
for an unsuspecting employee to download as an "upgrade."

Recently, however, Mr. Eaton has added an onscreen notice, informing
the
user
that the PC could be monitored -- an alert a systems manager can choose
to
have automatically displayed or not. "If your purpose is to humiliate
them,
then don't tell them," Mr. Eaton says. "If you want to stop abuse,
tell
them.
Usually the threat alone is enough."

Once Investigator is installed, the computer manager can choose
"alert"
words
like "boss" or "union" or specific names. Then any time they appear in
the
text of an e-mail, note or memo, those documents will be automatically
e-mailed over a company's computer network to the employee's supervisor
or
other designee. (On a stand-alone computer, the document would have to
be
retrieved directly from the hard drive.)
GC&.
"When else can you peer into someone's raw thought process?" asks Peter
A.
Steinmeyer, a lawyer at Epstein Becker & Green in Chicago who has
studied
Internet and privacy issues and who represents management clients.
Nonetheless, he says, while an employee may try to argue that he
reasonably
expected his "draft" thoughts to remain his own, courts have
consistently
held that communications written on company-provided computers aren't
private
under current law.
....
Aside from keystroke logging, the desktop-monitoring software can be
programmed to send to a manager's screen via e-mail a replica of
precisely
what is on an employee's screen at any given moment -- text, graphics
and
all. Adavi says it has big corporate clients, but that they are adamant
in
their refusal to be identified.
....
-

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