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Employee Monitoring

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the watching-the-serfs-surf dept.

Privacy 274

CWmike writes "Michael Workman, an associate professor at the Florida Institute of Technology's Nathan M. Bisk College of Business, estimates that monitoring responsibilities take up at least 20% of the average IT manager's time. Yet most IT professionals never expected they'd be asked to police their colleagues and co-workers in quite this way. How do they feel about this growing responsibility? Workman says he sees a split among tech workers. Those who specialize in security issues feel that it's a valid part of IT's job. But those who have more of a generalist's role, such as network administrators, often don't like it. Computerworld contributor Tam Harbert found a wide variety of viewpoints from IT managers, ranging from discomfort at having to 'babysit' employees to righteous beliefs about 'protecting the integrity of the system.'"

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Please do (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32600642)

Watch me all you want, I will drive you mad and run you round in circles :)

Re:Please do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32600720)

That's what you think, Fido. I'll just shut the curtains, shorten your chain around that tree, and let you eat grass until you stop peeing on my carpet.

Re:Please do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601034)

Then be prepared to follow a very boring monotonous time consuming "PROCESS" :) Which I wil have to fill out forms get manager approvals Fine by me. More money wasted.

Re:Please do (5, Insightful)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600788)

we pretend to work; they pretend to pay us

Re:Please do (2, Insightful)

luis_a_espinal (1810296) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600954)

we pretend to work; they pretend to pay us

Unless our paychecks (and the money we get when we cash them in) are a figment of our collective imagination, there is strong physical evidence that suggest they indeed do pay us. Maybe not in imaginary worlds, but certainly in the real one.

Re:Please do (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601058)

> Unless our paychecks (and the money we get when we cash them in) are
> a figment of our collective imagination,

Well, actually... unless you get hard gold-backed cash in your hand then yes, your pay is imaginary.

I refer the Honorable Gentleman to the concept of Money Creation [prosperityuk.com]

Re:Please do (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601108)

What the hell are you going to do with gold when the zombie apocalypse comes? Eat it?

No, your currency needs to be backed by canned beans.

Re:Please do (2, Informative)

MatthewCCNA (1405885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601198)

What the hell are you going to do with gold when the zombie apocalypse comes?

Bludgeon the zombies with the gold, classy and effective.

Re:Please do (3, Insightful)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601068)

we need a -1 *WHOOOSH* mod

Waste of time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32600666)

Monitoring other employees computer usage - one of the many non value adding tasks that have found their way into large corporations. It ranks up their with human resource departments!

Re:Waste of time... (2, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600776)

Monitoring other employees computer usage - one of the many non value adding tasks that have found their way into large corporations. It ranks up their with human resource departments!

Not quite. It doesn't have such a negative impact on other people's productivity

Re:Waste of time... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32600968)

Depends on the management's response while something happens. A few years back I was asked to keep an eye on employee's internet habits at the workplace though the management made if difficult for me to do but expected it to be done. Damn if you Damn if you don't. Anyway I spotted someone visiting porn sites during office hours, management said ignore it and replied then what is the point of me monitoring if no action is taken. Over the a few weeks the person went from general porn to kiddiw stuff, my management tried to sweep it under the carpet and pretend however here in the UK if you are IT staff and you are exposed you have to report it to avoid punishment yourself so I rang the Police and in the end the person who was view the porn got sack (and eventually prosecuted), management (the one's who tried to cover it up got sacked) and I got a heft pay cheque off the Chairman of the board to doing the right thing!!

Re:Waste of time... (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601112)

Pictures...or it didn't happen!

Re:Waste of time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601020)

It's amusing to me that the HR department, in which not one employee understands the role of any of the value-producing employees, have become the gatekeepers to employment. The only way around them is to know the right person in the department you wish to get hired in. I actually had an HR employee from a large tech company call me for a reference for an old employee of mine. I can't count how many ways he asked me the same question. I would have asked him if he was fucking deaf if I thought it wouldn't have torpedoed my old employee's chance at a job there.

Know when (3, Funny)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600678)

You have to know when to police people. For example I only talk to people when their porn viewing habits get so strange that it started to expose the company to all sorts of lawsuits.

Re:Know when (4, Informative)

c0mpliant (1516433) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600806)

That's such a bad example. Any porn viewing in a company environment leaves the company open to all sorts of lawsuits from sexual harassment to violation of ethics laws. As an IT Security professional, I need to be acutely aware of the risks the company can expose itself to. As part of our computer usage policy, anyone getting internet access must agree to express conditions of using it, for example no file downloads, no porn, no webmail etc. We monitor usage in co-ordination with blocking software to ensure compliance with this policy to ensure the safety of not just the IT infrastructure but also the companies regulatory, compliance and law requirements

Re:Know when (3, Insightful)

mopower70 (250015) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600868)

As an IT Security professional, I need to be acutely aware of the risks the company can expose itself to.

"Those who specialize in security issues feel that it's a valid part of IT's job."

And, we're done here.

Re:Know when (2, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601458)

So a Slashdotter claims that part of his workload involves being "acutely aware" of all the various kinds of porn out there, and that trolling coworkers files for instances of such constitutes a "valid part" of his job, and you say we're done here?

Come on! This warrants at least one +5 Funny comment.

Re:Know when (3, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600938)

You make sound as if Internet monitoring is the only sort of monitoring being done these days. Many big corporations now keep logs of files that have been executed, and some even install keyloggers and computer forensics software.

So it isn't even just a matter of porn or file downloads or webmail. They're tracking everything done on the computer. I wonder just how useful that tracking can be, considering the huge volume of data on any network of significant size.

Re:Know when (4, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601006)

To add to that, who actually browses porn at work. I mean, every few months, I hear a story about some politician or city employee being caught browsing porn on work hours, and I just think wow. Is your job that boring? Is your life that boring? Of all the things there are on the internet that won't get you in quite so much trouble, they choose to look at porn. Not that there's anything wrong with doing it on their own time, but they have to just know it's going to end up badly. When I'm bored at work, I visit lots of non-work related websites, but I just really don't understand the porn-at-work thing.

Re:Know when (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601126)

As a security professional in a VERY large company, you'd be amazed how many people go to porn sites on work computers. For some people, it seems like porn is like an addiction. They crave that "stimulation" so badly that they can't wait until they're somewhere else, or perhaps they don't have a computer at home, or perhaps the only computer at home is in a public area where other people can see what they're doing. There are many reasons why someone would chose to do something like that at work.

They also don't seem to believe the warning on the computer when they log in every morning telling them that we ARE monitoring their activities.

The problem is that new sites pop up all of the time, so trying to block them is like the old "whack a mole" game at the carnival.

I found one company-issued laptop with 16GB of porn videos, including kiddie porn. That was immediately turned over to the proper authorities and, if my information is correct, the former employee is now in prison.

Re:Know when (1)

VShael (62735) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601138)

It may not have been porn. It may have something risque, or marked LSFW or NSFW without actually being *porn*.

Re:Know when (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601320)

I used to have to browse porn at work - I worked on a porn links directory...

I also had to monitor employees in case they visited accountancy or crochet pattern sites, the filthy beggars!

Re:Know when (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601246)

To me, this generally means they were setup somehow, because you have to be ridiculously st00pid to surf porn at work. Also, if someone pissed me off and I wanted retribution, that's exactly what I would do. I'd be in the front row at the police station as they perpwalked him in for kiddie porn.

Re:Know when (1)

StuartHankins (1020819) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601328)

Besides, isn't pron a feature of Android? Or so I've heard...

Re:Know when (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601334)

I mean, every few months, I hear a story about some politician or city employee being caught browsing porn on work hours, and I just think wow. Is your job that boring?

To be honest, given the choice between browing porn and almost any job in the world, browing porn is going to be more interesting.

Re:Know when (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601438)

In a previous position it was my job to clean all the malware infected machines. That wouldn't be so bad except I had to document what was found and where. I'm not a puritanical zealot, but pr0n all day every day really wears on a guy.

Total BS (5, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601372)

You know, I'm SO sick of the total bullshit line of reasoning that people like you keep giving for gross violations of our privacy, not to mention keeping people like me from doing my job.

Okay, so your company has a policy of not allowing me to browse porn on the Internet, woohoo. Why is it that you jump to the conclusion that the only way to make sure this doesn't happen is to monitor every single web site that I browse? Why can't you just have a policy of, hey, if management has some reason to think that KingSkippus might be up to something, then look for something fishy?

Ponder this. I'm pretty sure that my company also wouldn't like me browsing porn magazines at work. They'd probably get quite irate if, in the middle of the day, I pulled a Hustler out and started flipping through those oh-so-sweet pages. So is the only answer now to have security guards posted at every door to pore through all of my possessions as I come and go, making sure that I have no porn in my physical possessions? I also carry a 4 GB USB drive everywhere I go with some basic troubleshooting tools and electronic copies of documents that I like to have on me at all times. Every time I enter the building, should I be strip searched and, when such a thing is found, every file inspected to make sure that I don't have dirty pictures on it?

No, the whole "We must monitor EVERYTHING!" is just a BS policy made because people like you get off on your power trip.

Legally, it's really simple. You create a policy that says that if you're caught browsing porn on the Internet, you get fired. Managers back it up with action by, when people are caught browsing porn, they fire the person who was doing it. There's no need for stupid ass content filters, treating everyone like they're 13 year olds, to ensure this policy, any more than there's a need for strip searches or searches of all physicial possessions. If a company gets sued--and make no mistake, they will get sued no matter what policy they have--they show the judge the policy and their record of upholding it, and that's that.

I defy you to actually cite these throngs of "all sorts of lawsuits from sexual harrassment to violation of ethics laws," especially the ones where the court found a company liable because they didn't have a content filter in place with people like you watching everything everyone is doing instead of enforcing the policy when violations were reasonably found Big Brother-style. As long as we're talking anecdotally, you know who I've heard does the most browsing of porn on the Internet? High-level management. True story: at the company where I work, most of the executives have been given explicit exemption from our content filters. As for the "ethics laws" joke, discover the wonderful world of "situational ethics" [publicradio.org] and then explain to how you're protecting a company that deliberately puts a clause that says, "From time to time, the firm may waive certain provisions of this Code" in its Code.

The truth of the matter is that my company spends WAY more on content filters and salaries for people to set them up and monitor them, not to mention the cost to the business when they break and the Internet becomes completely unavailable, than it would on bogus lawsuits that would have been brought anyway. The whole "you need content filtering to protect you" is a scam perpetrated by content filtering companies and people like you who would probably lose your job if management figured out the truth and actually cared. (And, more importantly, did their job of dealing with these issues instead of foisting them on the IT group.)

Back in the mid-90s, my boss read an article that explained about how login scripts could be used on Windows 3.11 to do things like delete Solitaire and Minesweeper and replace the desktop background with a forced company standard. The next thing I knew, he was in my (the system administrator's) office demanding that we delete Solitaire and Minesweeper from everyone's machine and to push out a wallpaper with the company logo on it at every login. I tried to explain that Solitaire is actually useful, helping people new to computers learn how to use the keyboard and the mouse, teaching simple concepts such as single- and double-clicking, dragging, dropping, how to use menus, how to launch and close programs, and so on; that I had actually used it in some of the training classes I ran and encouraged people to play some while on their breaks. I tried to explain that the people who waste an hour playing Solitaire will simply find a way to waste an hour doing something else once it's gone, and it's really management's responsibility to deal with issues of bad time management, not mine. I tried to explain that people like to have a degree of customization of things like their desktop background, that most people use it to have pictures of their kids or dogs or whatnot, and that forcing such a draconian policy on everyone would be the functional equivalent of making them take down all of their family pictures and desk toys from their cubicles because "desks are company property."

In the end, though, he told me that he hates "that stupid game" and that he thought the corporate logo was neat, so I had to take a few hours to write up the login script and roll it out. Of course, he pitched to upper management that he was protecting the company from liability and increasing productivity, but he had already come clean with me with the real reasons. Well, guess what. In spite of your bullshit stories about protecting the company, I know your reasons, too. You think the technology is neat, and since you can get away with your gross violations of privacy and it feeds your ego, you do. I made sure that everyone I talked to knew that the policy was his idea, not mine, and that I only rolled it out because I was forced to against my objection.

Another true story. At my company, I sit close to the guys who monitor the content filters. They have connections to their computers outside the proxies, directly on the Internet. I see them all the time accessing their personal Gmail accounts, which is blatantly against the company's security policy. It's a bit like the police officers I see all the time driving 70 MPH on the 55 MPH-speed limit Interstate, or driving through red lights. Who watches the watchers? Oh yeah, that would be nobody. Oh, don't worry though, I'm sure they're browsing "responsibly" and don't need watching.

Re:Know when (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601430)

Although I (and the others here) know what you meant by "file downloads", I hope you don't leave it that vague in the conditions people sign. Because if it is that vague and you decide you want to fire someone you can just point to all those .js and .png files in their temporary internet files and say, "look at all the files they downloaded".

Re:Know when (2, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601036)

"For example I only talk to people when their porn viewing habits get so strange that it started to expose the company to all sorts of lawsuits."

This thread is worthless without pics!

Give the IT Tools to the HR People (2, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601200)

The average, typical IT tech lacks the "touch" when it comes to employee monitoring. Give the monitoring tools, or reports from such, to the HR guys, whose ultimate responsibility this should be.

Employee monitoring is in the position today where web page creation was 15-20 years ago. It was an "IT Function," because the tools were new and computer-y. Eight million "blink" tags and six hundred thousand animated "under construction" GIFs later, the tools made their way over to the Marketing and Creative Services people, and civilization lurched forward.

Of course, there were always the techs who fancied themselves designers, from whose fingers the tools had to be pried away. I suspect there is more than that many techs who have gotten more than just a little bit comfortable wearing the Big Brother jackboots as well...

Re:Know when (1)

Psmylie (169236) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601268)

You're right about having to know when to police people. Where I work, there are only two times IT gets into monitoring employee's network access:
1. Troubleshooting a problem, at the employee's own request
2. After Human Resources calls us and tells us there may be an issue.

People in general are naturally inquisitive and there are those amongst the IT crowd that may poke their noses in where they don't belong. This raises not only privacy issues, but ethical and security issues as well, which is why the rules are in place. As one of my first IT bosses told me, "If you can't explain why you had to access that data, don't access it".

Panopticon is here to stay (5, Insightful)

Xemu (50595) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600696)

Society is growing used to more extensive monitoring overall. We monitor our babies with webcams. The webcams are then used in schools to monitor class rooms and playgrounds. When we grow up, we rename them security cameras and appoint low wage individuals as our watchmen.
In some areas of the world such as the UK, computers are already being used to analyze the images from the security cameras. Storage capacity grows, and data gathered from the image analysis are stored for a lifetime. They can be used to enhance the analysis of your children's children. The ones which protests are considered suspicious with "something to hide". The ruling class are the only ones exempt from monitoring.
In the next step, computers are used to analyse images from private bedrooms and bathrooms. After all, who needs to worry about privacy when it's only a computer watching. It's all about protecting us from the boogey man. Think of the children!

Resistance is futile. You will be monitored.

Re:Panopticon is here to stay (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600772)

You forgot to mention the nanobots that will be swimming through our blood vessels.

Employee monitoring is not really new (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600774)

When it comes to being employed, though, bosses and managers have always watched their employees to some degree -- that is, of course, the purpose of being the boss. A good boss knows what sort of things are worth confronting an employee about -- maybe it is OK for someone to be chatting with their sweetheart, as long as their work is getting done, but maybe it is not OK for someone to be watching their sweetheart stripping in a video chat even if the work is getting done.

TFA raises a slightly different issue: when one employee is asked to monitor the others. Sysadmins should not be asked to take on the responsibility of watching employees; that is a manager's responsibility. If the manager is not technically competent to monitor computer use, then there is a question of why that person is managing people who use computers for their work -- the manager should be competent with the equipment.

Re:Employee monitoring is not really new (1)

Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601134)

There you go using logic again. We don't take kindly to logic 'round these parts...

Re:Employee monitoring is not really new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601350)

By his logic an employee who conforms to arbitrary rules yet doesn't get work done is preferable to an employee who doesn't.

By that logic it's all about control and subjugation and not actually getting things done.

A nasty human trait...

But it's still usually a bad idea (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601158)

When it comes to being employed, though, bosses and managers have always watched their employees to some degree -- that is, of course, the purpose of being the boss.

No, it's not. The purpose of being a boss is to set direction for and co-ordinate those who work under you, so that the individual contributions all advance the overall plans.

There is a certain type of person who does think that being the boss is primarily a power trip/disciplinary role. Such people usually live in middle management in large companies, because they are basically a waste of space. Small companies can't afford to have the dead weight, and large companies won't promote them to a level where they can do any serious damage but usually have too much bureaucracy to effectively detect and fire them.

Trust is a prerequisite for any employment relationship. If you don't trust the people working for you to do what they are supposed to without routine monitoring, then you have bigger problems than whether the monitoring itself is justified. Indeed, one could make a reasonable argument that routine monitoring implies a breakdown in the fundamental trust relationship between employer and employee, which would itself be immediate grounds for a constructive dismissal lawsuit in this country.

I can understand running automated tools to prevent, say, leakage of sensitive data. I can understand running automated tools to scan incoming data for viruses. This sort of thing is, sadly, reasonable for protection and sometimes necessary for legal/regulatory compliance in the modern world. However, it should rarely if ever disrupt an employee going about their business, and no-one else should be directly involved unless a problem is detected.

I can understand general performance monitoring. Recognising staff who do well is valuable. Helping (not attacking) staff who underperform is valuable. Firing staff who underperform and cannot improve is, unfortunately, sometimes necessary. But none of this stuff requires intrusive, minute-by-minute monitoring and recording of the kind we're discussing here.

The only time direct, intrusive monitoring is used should be when there is already a credible level of evidence of serious wrong-doing, and confronting the employee about that wrong-doing directly would prevent proper investigation. And in those circumstances, I tend to ask why the company is letting some next-line-up manager or IT/HR goon do the intrusive work. If it's that serious, the higher-ups should be calling the authorities, or at the very least passing a case file to internal security/legal staff who are required to handle the investigation with suitable discretion and a lot of accountability.

Re:Employee monitoring is not really new (1)

Foxxxy (217437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601180)

But if companies put in position mandates "Other duties as assigned" which can include monitoring others. I think that it is good to watch what is going on but not to the extent of social networking sites and GPS etc. I personally monitor the enterprise for mob behavior such as a 400% spike in internet traffic with people watching the world cup or streaming radio. I then crunch the numbers and show what the cost of said traffic is to the business and let the business decide if it continues or if I stop it.

My job is to ensure a stable and high performing network for the enterprise, part of that is watching what people are doing and stopping things that can degrade the stability or performance of the network as a whole. I don't look at it as monitoring co-workers, I see it as monitoring the network, what I am paid to do. The fact that humans are the ones generating the traffic doesn't matter, I really don't care who is doing it, just that it is being done.

We aren't here to single people out (unless asked to), just do the job that we are paid for.

Re:Employee monitoring is not really new (3, Interesting)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601284)

If the manager is not technically competent to monitor computer use, then there is a question of why that person is managing people who use computers for their work -- the manager should be competent with the equipment.

That's a bit much. The accounting manager should be able to keep up with the latest ways to hide computer usage? Does that mean the most able computer user should be the head of each department regardless of ability to manage that department? Also, aren't the guys trying to hide stuff more likely to become the most compentent user therefore allowing them to be the "boss". Of course that means as you go up the the chain of the company it just keeps being more and more technically superior people, regardless of ability to do the job.

No, I'll stick with the idea that the department manager should know his specific job better than anyone. That includes the IT Manager, and he should be ultimately responsible for all computer usage.

Re:Panopticon is here to stay (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32600782)

In the next step, computers are used to analyse images from private bedrooms and bathrooms.

I can see it now ... "How dare you say I've not got much to hide!"

Re:Panopticon is here to stay (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600820)

In the next step, computers are used to analyse images from private bedrooms and bathrooms. After all, who needs to worry about privacy when it's only a computer watching. It's all about protecting us from the boogey man. Think of the children!

Resistance is futile. You will be monitored.

Some people do that now, and you can buy the videos on line. :)

You have to. (5, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600732)

"He goes through the logs to see if there's anything in there that needs to be exposed or discussed." Activity related to porn, gambling or hate speech automatically raises red flags, he says.

He once caught an employee who was engaged in criminal activity involving intellectual property that could have resulted in a big financial loss for the company.

Many years ago, I was in the company's server room talking to a buddy and he mentioned that an employee was taking up quite a bit of drive space - with porn. The guy had a problem. All you need is one guy with a problem like that to download some kiddie porn and your business will be shut down and you go to jail - over an employee with a problem. The guy I mentioned was talked to and I think he was asked to resign.

Observers say IT managers can expect to be asked to take on even more monitoring duties, such are reviewing video surveillance, examining text messages, tracking employee location by GPS or listening in on social media.

That's going too far. Come on - a Stalinist company?!?

Larger companies have started to hire third-party firms to monitor what's said about them in the blogosphere and on social media sites, but in many midsize and small companies, this duty could fall to IT.

That's also going too far. It's one thing what an employee does on company time and with company's resources, but they do on their own time - as long as it's legal shouldn't be a company's business.

Re:You have to. (2, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600814)

What bothers me about this whole situation is that the IT guys are not managers -- so why are they watching over the employees to any degree? It is one thing if someone happens to stumble across something unusual, such as your example with the excessive disk space, and then reports that to a manager, but it is quite another story when IT guys are being asked to actively monitor other employees. The managers should be the people who watch over the employees and make sure that the equipment (i.e. computers) is being used properly, and they should not try to pass off that responsibility to someone else.

Re:You have to. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32600818)

at my company, silly little ideas that one man could shutdown the company, aren't easily entertained.

Maybe that's because we have qualified attorney's on staff and not morons that seem to fill the ranks of your company.

People do bad shit every day, using work resources and time, and the companies don't close. That's because police for several decades, and companies generally know how to work together. The company provides the police with the information they need, and the INDIVIDUAL is prosecuted.

but let me not get int he way of your flawed rationalization.

if we have an employee with a problem, the value he provides will be measured against the seriousness of the problem. the devil is in the details, each case is different, and the facts must be weighed carefully.

if the employee is asked to leave, and was not reported to the police, and the problem was serious, then you are guilty of covering up crimes.

In the course of your investigation, is it normal to raise the specter of certain types of inflammatory violations without a shred of proof? And if there was proof why did you not call the police?

Wrong. (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601218)

See, you're full of it. Because if there is illegal things on the computers, the police will confiscate them and they will start putting people in handcuffs.

They could also accuse the company as being a front , such as here [heraldextra.com]

So again, you are wrong.

Re:You have to. (1)

nikanth (1066242) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601260)

That's also going too far. It's one thing what an employee does on company time and with company's resources, but they do on their own time - as long as it's legal shouldn't be a company's business.

If it is public anyone can watch you. As long as they don't interfere on your free time activities, it should be fine.

Re:You have to. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601278)

The problem is, it's already happening. Someone at the place I work was recently suspended because he quoted some obscure cartoon show. Something about dressing up as a human and raising hell over something at work. He was called in, then escorted out and his badge suspended the next morning. It was a comment on facebook or twitter or something. He's a known loudmouth and a hothead, but he's not dangerous. They were more afraid of the things he said on his blog than the usual slacking and loud mouthed commentary he makes in the office.

The whole things crazy and is getting out of hand. Sure, if he's plain out said "I'm going to shoot the place up" it would have been a problem, but he was blowing off steam and talking about 'raising hell'. That's not a threat of violence, just loud mouthedness. And this promises to only get worse with time.

Waste of time (4, Insightful)

Jjeff1 (636051) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600746)

As I tell my customers when they ask, "You can't fix behavioral issues with technology." If employees want to waste time instead of working, they can surf the web or send chain emails. Take that away, they can play solitaire. Take that away, they can gab around the water cooler or stare into space and day-dream. Blocking porn and gambling sites is probably a good idea for liability purposes, but I can't see that it helps productivity.

Most frequently I'm asked to look at log files or email and tell employers things that I simply cannot know. I can tell them that an employee didn't log in to their PC until 10am, but I have no way of knowing when they actually arrived at work.

Re:Waste of time (2, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600794)

As I tell my customers when they ask, "You can't fix behavioral issues with technology." If employees want to waste time instead of working, they can surf the web or send chain emails. Take that away, they can play solitaire. Take that away, they can gab around the water cooler or stare into space and day-dream. Blocking porn and gambling sites is probably a good idea for liability purposes, but I can't see that it helps productivity. Most frequently I'm asked to look at log files or email and tell employers things that I simply cannot know. I can tell them that an employee didn't log in to their PC until 10am, but I have no way of knowing when they actually arrived at work.

I don't know, if the banned slashdot I would probably be working on a programming problem. On the other hand if they hadn't banned orgasm.com i'd ......

Re:Waste of time (5, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601064)

If my employer blocked /. I'd be on Dice.com right now.

I have a friend whose employer actually encourages him to read /. because it increases his awareness of emerging things in the IT field. I'm inclined to agree.

Re:Waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601468)

employer actually encourages him to read /. because it increases his awareness of emerging things in the IT field

Wait... Slashdot? You're talking about Slashdot?

Re:Waste of time (1)

Silly Man (15712) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600804)

Blocking porn and gambling sites is probably a good idea for liability purposes, but I can't see that it helps productivity.

Blocking highly addictive sites such as porn and gambling...I CAN see how that would help productivity.

Where do you work? (3, Insightful)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600756)

Unless you are working for a fortune 500 company whose image is often worth more than its current product line up, who cares? The only filters I have ever ran at a company I did IT for was for a list of of words that included, Lolita, Child Porn, Underage, No-nude and Preteen. We caught one contractor during the 8 months I worked there and it was his personal laptop, so we contacted the FBI. He was arrested on suspicion and they found enough Child Porn on his home computers that we never heard about him again, I moved before it could be brought to trial.

People surf porn at work that is just going to happen, if there work does not suffer and they are adults it is far more worthwhile to spend time worrying about security which can get you in real trouble.

Re:Where do you work? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600808)

People surf porn at work that is just going to happen, if there work does not suffer and they are adults it is far more worthwhile to spend time worrying about security which can get you in real trouble.

Even if you're careful you can get caught out by a "goatse" type link on slashdot, or once even on a supplier's technical support forum.

As an IT Manager for a small company (3, Interesting)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600760)

I personally don't care what other people do in general. I am not their boss, and it's not my job to police what they do during work hours. I do keep logs, so if a person's manager wants to see what they've been doing I can give them a report. The only thing that I personally care about is employee behavior that may compromise my network. I do watch TCP traffic for abnormalities, and do have a black list of sites that will alert me if someone tries to visit something dangerous. Other then that, I really could care less if someone spends half their day on Facebook. It's not my job to make sure that other people are working...

Re:As an IT Manager for a small company (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600824)

Yet, they're talking about what if it became part of your job. Why do you care "personally" about your network? It's the company's network. You don't consider Facebook as a potentially dangerous site to visit?

Re:As an IT Manager for a small company (4, Insightful)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600878)

Why do you care "personally" about your network?

I consider it my network (and care about it), because of two reasons. First, I'm responsible for maintaining it. So when someone else fucks it up, I have to fix it (at whatever cost, whenever it's needed). Second, because I'm responsible for it, so if it goes down it looks bad upon me (Even if it was someone else's problem). I may be a rare bread in recent times, but I actually care about what I do and the way I am perceived to others (with regards to my work at least). If people can't do work because my network is having problems, that's my fault. So to save myself the potential hassle, I take proactive measures.

I don't consider Facebook dangers. I do consider pages that are linked to by Facebook dangerous. But if I black listed any site that linked to dangerous content, I'd have to take away the entire internet. And I don't consider it my place to tell users what sites are valid for business reasons and those that are not. Some people do use Facebook for actual work (some of us do research on people, so sometimes they do need to visit Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, etc)...

Re:As an IT Manager for a small company (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601410)

I consider it my network (and care about it)

Hey, Terry Childs, how ya been, man?

Re:As an IT Manager for a small company (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600950)

Its your job if HR or security asks you to do it.

Re:As an IT Manager for a small company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601010)

No, it's his job if they modify his contract to make it his job. Or did you sign something that said "this company now ownz joo!!!"

Re:As an IT Manager for a small company (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601344)

Try that out in real life and you will find yourself out on the street in the unemployment line.

"Other duties as assigned" and refusal would be insubordination and lead to immediate termination.

Re:As an IT Manager for a small company (1)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601088)

No, it's not. I will (and do) provide any information HR or Security (which we don't have) wants whenever they ask for it. I do have logging processes to watch what everyone's doing. But I don't look at it and point out to others that Joe Blow is constantly on xyz.com. If HR asks me for the logs on Joe Blow, I will gladly generate them a nice report. But if they asked me to "Tell them those people who are using the computers for non-work activities", I would tell them no. Not because I don't want to, but because I'm not in a position to decide what constitutes a "non-work activity". Plus, it's my job to maintain our IT infrastructure, not to monitor users. If they want me to do that, then they will need to alter my job title (and hence my salary, as that would be a significant increase in responsibility)...

Re:As an IT Manager for a small company (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601374)

Not been out of college very long have you? Refusing to do reasonable duties as requested by management will make it a short career for you.

Good luck in your next job and don't bother applying to work for me.

Re:As an IT Manager for a small company (2, Informative)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601530)

Refusing to do reasonable duties as requested by management will make it a short career for you.

Where do you get that? I never said I was refusing to do a reasonable duty. What I said was that I am unable to do a duty that requires me to make decisions that I am not empowered to make. I've been asked more than once to do things that I was not empowered to do (either by company policy, or by my direct boss's direction), and each time that situation came up, I negotiated it into a raise and an increase in responsibility.

You're right, saying no when they ask you to do something will make a short career. But I don't say no, I say that I am sorry but I am unable to to do that because of x y and z. If they say to do it anyway, then I would normally either go to my direct boss, or as high as I need to (depending on who's asking) to get permission...

Re:As an IT Manager for a small company (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601148)

No, that merely means that those people think it's your job. And even that doesn't mean a thing if those people aren't your boss(es).

Re:As an IT Manager for a small company (1)

Rivalz (1431453) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601028)

Not your job to make sure they are working but from my stand point it is your job to collect and report who is. I liked it when my company wanted me to start monitoring users. I used it as a talking point to get a raise. I had to get a new cert to sell them on it but at least I was able to get something extra out of the added work.

But monitoring is so easy I don't see what the big deal is. Personally I like that the line between IT and Management is blurring. Usually means more pay and easier work.

Luck for me.... (1)

Slash.Poop (1088395) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600780)

...our Boss does not want to monitor our employees.

However, as IT we know that SOME monitoring has to be done. We have found out that MOST of our monitoring does not even need to take place. We simply restrict access through Active Directory and DNS.

Service Vs Manufacturing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32600800)

If production output cannot be monitored then most businesses would like to monitor the distractions.

I had one company I was doing some extra work for on the side pull me into the managers office to question me about the number of personal calls I had during work hours. I understood their point but kindly related that it was my girlfriend who I would talk to and I worked while I was on the phone. Which is basically me saying yes, uh huh, and wow for about 20 minutes just to make her happy. Btw I work 2 full time jobs doing tech work. Which they understood before me entering.
I don't blame them for wanting to get the most for their money but the days of the I pay you to do this and only this are well gone. There are a lot of things they expect outside of the hours I'm payed for. If i have to keep up on like education, events, practices without compensation then it is a trade off.

Eventually I resigned after I worked 2 weekends of overtime remotely for them. I was suppose to be paid but they tried screwing me over and not paying me OT. I eventually got paid, but from my standpoint the Employer has all the leverage.

it's a valid part of IT's job (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600810)

Since today's job world is so intertwined with technology, yes, its now part of the job of IT.

Re:it's a valid part of IT's job (2, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600864)

By analogy, imagine a railroad. Instead of computers, we have locomotives, and instead of IT staff, we have mechanics who maintain those locomotives. Now, whose responsibility should it be to check it on the employees who operate the locomotives to make sure they are doing their job, the mechanics, or the manager?

Passive monitoring is one thing -- if an IT worker sees something strange, like an employee storing many terabytes of porn on company computers, then of course that should be reported to the boss. Active monitoring is another story -- IT staff should not be expected to check in on employee activity on the computers to make sure that people are working. Actively monitoring the employees is a manager's job.

Re:it's a valid part of IT's job (2, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600980)

Its not an accurate analogy to compare locomotive mechanics and IT staff. Using a airline, and stewardesses would be closer since train mechanics don't ride with the passengers

But that said, i don't care who you are, if management says you are to monitor, then its your job. Hell, if the says 'don't worry about the servers, go mop the floor', then that is your job for the day.

Re:it's a valid part of IT's job (1)

hesiod (111176) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601464)

Sure, if your employment contract says you do anything your boss tells you. Lucky for me, I don't have the obviously-shitty job you do, and my job responsibilities are limited and are filed with HR.

Re:it's a valid part of IT's job (1)

rhsanborn (773855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601340)

The problem is that it is currently a job being done by IT whereas it should be a job facilitated by IT (providing the means to do monitoring), but handled by managers, or people dedicated to such a task.

honestly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32600812)

Honestly, in the IT departments I've worked in that do care about monitoring, it really lets you easily know who has fascist tendencies (not surprisingly, they also tend to be severe hypocrites). That's not to say that anyone who cares about monitoring has fascist tendencies, but there are certain types of people who really seem to relish the power/authority that monitoring gives them.

BOFH (2, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600842)

The real problem with official monitoring duties is that you have to send the results to management instead of the local newspaper, or maybe a television show [youtube.com] .

when my budget is cut (2)

archangel9 (1499897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600866)

and they hire some wanker to perform a six-figure vapor-job such as "business development" and I find his user/IP spending 5 hours out of the day on time-wasting sites, that's when I take the report to the COO. Don't hack and slash IT resources to let some slacker take up my bandwidth with car races on YouTube and 360.

underpaid (if only in my mind): check.
bitter on weekdays: check.
vindictive: check.

There's some paranoia at play, too. (3, Interesting)

Delusion_ (56114) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600884)

I worked IT at a mortgage company run by someone without much in the way of morals. He wanted a print-tracking solution to monitor who was printing and what they were printing. As it happens, I later worked for a company which provided this exact solution, but ultimately it didn't matter because what he wanted was something he didn't want to spend any actual money on, and at the time any solutions were resource-intensive for a file and print server running on a then-midline Pentium 166 MHz, so it would have required spending money on hardware upgrades, too.

He wanted this solution to protect his leads, which he was convinced were walking out the door from employees taking them and selling them to his competitors; ultimately, it was one of those cases of suspecting other people were doing exactly what he would have done in their situation. I suspect there's a fair amount of this attitude, and it's probably more common in smaller businesses than Fortune 500 companies, who are generally more interested in liability.

Productivity does not come with surveillance (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600892)

It comes with a worker's willingness to work for you. If he WANTS to actually work for you instead of just getting paid for spending time at your office, he will work. Else he will do a half assed job, surveillance or not.

If you give your employees freedom and the ability to actually enjoy working for you, they will be much more productive. Because they WANT to be productive. Because they WANT your company to be successful, because that means they can keep that job. Sure, you will always have the ones that slack off, and not putting an eye on them constantly sure gives them an easier way to do that. But their coworkers, the ones that actually want to work for you and do want your company to thrive because it means a good, enjoyable job for them, will quickly identify such slackers and they will do the surveillance for you. Peer pressure can be quite powerful, to the point where your slackers will quickly realize that it's not the boss but the other employees that get angry with him if he's not pulling his weight. Plus, you can do without the investment in cams and surveillance staff. Your workers will do that for you. For free.

Re:Productivity does not come with surveillance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601392)

Well, it's manager's duty to filter those who want to work in any case; those who need some help or motivation; and those who don't really want work. The monitoring won't push people into another category, but it will allow you to identify slackers early and get rid of them quickly - as in the long run, tolerating slackers demotivates the good, hard working employees who then have to pick up the slack afterwards.

A lot of the waste is a matter of opportunity (0)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600898)

How many workers really need an Internet connection at their desktop? Probably not nearly as many as corporate America thinks. In many offices, I'd wager that having a few, very public Internet machines for work-related research would solve most of the problems without a loss of privacy on a daily basis to workers.

For most workers, I bet it's not only a bad temptation on their desk, but not even necessary. A lot of offices would probably be better off if communications had to be done more infrequently and more thought-out instead of as fast as someone can write up an email and add recipients.

Re:A lot of the waste is a matter of opportunity (1)

Astatine (179864) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601276)

I have only an anecdote as a retort to this, it'll have to do. My point seems blindingly obvious, and I suspect my situation is not uncommon.

My productivity would *plummet* without Internet access at work. I spend a lot of time looking up information on the web -- mostly online documentation. If I didn't have that connection, I would be constantly purchasing paper documentation and industry journals, and so would all my peers -- at great overall cost to the company, without even considering the additional cost of the delay incurred every time I needed to wait for a new publication to arrive. (Simply put, product releases would not come out on time.)

In addition, no internet access would kill my ability to work remotely, because I need to be able to access my own systems at my desk remotely in order to be productive while out of the office.

(Yes, I am a software developer.)

It happens (2, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32600932)

It happens, and if it's not done by IT monitoring just gets done elsewhere. The thing that baffles me is that people are surprised when it happens. All that being said they have much stronger laws on privacy in Europe than here in the US and you have to be aware of international laws for such things. You can rack up some pretty serious legal fines or jail time depending on what country your employee is working in, and even more if the data is brought back to the US (as we have horribly weak privacy laws). If your not careful you can readily have violations of HIPAA, SEC rules or SOX as well.

All that being said, when monitoring inevitably comes up, your job is never to say 'no'. If you do that they will simply find someone else and you will have damaged your career. Your job is to ensure that if it has to happen it happens in full compliance with the letter of the law and any special rules that affect your organization. You'd be surprised at the dollar amounts fines start at, it can easily be six figures. After presenting all the legal requirements to perform a given piece of monitoring to your management, don't be surprised if they back off altogether.

Monitoring has it's place, I try to encourage managers to use monitoring tools like a surgeons knife, not a chainsaw. I've known of employee backlash that can cause significant employee relations damages to organizations when tools were used overly broadly. And for crying out loud, if your at work, assume your being monitored and work accordingly. Whether you telecommute or otherwise, you never work in a vacuum.

So, only "sick porn" as you define it is not ok? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32600942)

So, only "sick porn" as you define it is not ok?

Beastiality fine.
Gay porn - fire the guy!

Definitely the way any company IT Data Security rep should behave.

mod Up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32600984)

It's not part of a Security persons Job. (1)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601000)

The security personnel are in charge of maintaining the health of the network and its related assets from a Security standpoint.

The problem with monitoring employees, is that you find people enforcing their own beliefs and requirements with what they think is inappropriate. That results in various personnel interpreting the rules differently, which is unfair to the people being monitored.

Also, its not our job to monitor what people do, its up to the management structure of those people to make sure they are being productive and doing their jobs. Only when what a person puts the network at risk, should security personnel ever get involved.

It has been part of the banking/cashier industries (1)

Silly Man (15712) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601026)

Time is money. Information is money. Liability can mean loss of money.

Cashiers in banks and many businesses are under constant observation, has been that way for decades.

I am in the IT field, and I have been working with the assumption that whatever I am doing, 100% of it, it has been recorded. Although I am pretty sure (LOL, you never know!) that isn't happening. But I have always felt I should do nothing at work that I couldn't defend. I shouldn't be doing anything to be embarrassed over. I should be doing WORK anyway :)

Now I agree, outside of work, shouldn't be observed. Although I view myself as a professional and I do feel I shouldn't do anything to embarrass my company on social sites. Those sites are public. Especially if I advertise I work for a company on a social site, I should do anything that would cause harm to my company.

Don't get me wrong, if the company abuses this and questions every little mistake...it is time for me to find a new job.

Summary is Redundant (2, Interesting)

Thumper_SVX (239525) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601050)

I realize it's a matter of perspective... hell I've filled both roles so I know how it goes. However, the "generalist network admin" is monitoring employee actions and behaviours already. If they're not, then they're not doing a very good job. The perspective difference comes in the fact that most of the time said generalist is doing reactive monitoring, not proactive. As a result, the network admin typically does not realize that someone is attempting to compromise systems until the attempt is already occurring. There is a certain amount of proactive monitoring that the generalist does, but it tends to be limited.

Proactive monitoring at the employees desktop or application level does sometimes tend to highlight trends in employee actions before they get anywhere in a compromise situation. That means that the good generalist with a wider scope will be able to predict much better that problems are or will be occurring and take appropriate actions.

Now, the upper management trend of monitoring just to see exactly what their employees are doing... this I also think is fair so long as the rules are advertised and applied evenly. Remember, we are at work doing a job because we can and do. We are using company resources to do so, and we are paid for our work. I'll leave the conversation about whether we're paid enough to the individual, but I would contest that the best paycheck you're going to get from the job is about the same or less than everyone else in your field and location are demanding. Economics at work.

There is a point at which the monitoring becomes too much. I know my web habits are monitored by my management but I feel I have nothing to hide. I can justify every site I visit and the length of time I spend on those sites because when I'm at work, I'm working. I save personal web surfing for breaks or lunchtime and my management understands there are a few personal websites I visit on a frequent basis. Like Slashdot. I have worked in a much stricter environment where they absolutely stated no personal web surfing at work, and that was also fine because I just found other things to do during break and lunch. Note that I was also far more likely to go out and take my 1 hour lunch because of this policy... my current work environment's policy of "personal stuff OK at lunchtime" means that typically I'm at my desk during lunch so if something comes up, I'm here.

Maybe I'm just getting old, but I think the summary and the article are making generalizations that cannot be supported in the real world. Even when I started out as a junior network admin some 20 years ago give or take I understood the need and desire for monitoring employees. Since I also owned my own business for a while, I know what that desire is like but recognize that there's a balance to be found between "big brother" and "free reign".

Watch me... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601102)

pee on every scrap of paper in the restroom! Ever reached for the roll of toilet paper after a messy shit, only to discover a soggy yellow mess? I'm that guy!

Great post (0, Offtopic)

kancncnish (1835694) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601160)

This is really great post. taller 4 idiots [taller4idiots.com]

Some traditional solutions to monitoring... (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601176)

This is really a non-issue. Every so often we hear that there's a new problem or new approach to solving a problem. Names change but solutions remain the same. Whether it's grid technology or cloud or distributed computing or what have you, the "paradigm" may change but many times the technology is relatively unchanged.

For monitoring employees the obvious solution, though perhaps no longer a "hot" tech, is to install SNMP on each employee. If privacy is a concern, ensure that SNMPDv3 is used. This solves not only the more general problem of availability, but the beauty of SNMP is that it can be customized for each employee. You can now easily report back on CPU (i.e., brain) utilization, idle percentage (coffee breaks), etc.. SNMP also allows a "write back" so that the monitoring station can send information back to the client/employee.

I'm disappointed that this was not mentioned.

Re:Some traditional solutions to monitoring... (1)

Astatine (179864) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601382)

Interesting idea, but it wouldn't work. A machine can't work out what a human is doing (and thence whether or not he is "working") -- it doesn't have a brain.

To pick on the CPU example: what constitutes "work", exactly? Not a 100% CPU graph: that probably just means that the employee in question has his feet up and is waiting for a build job to complete. Or has sussed out the system, and is running a low priority CPU eating process in order to fool the SNMP thingy into thinking he's "working" all the time. Regular small spikes, indicating typing, clicking, saving, etc? Can be faked just as easily.

You could install a screen recorder -- the equivalent of CCTV for the desktop. That would require a lot more resources, and thence be more expensive. Fooling it would be harder, but still possible in various ways. (The how is left as an exercise for the reader. I conducted a security review of one once...)

In my opinion (as a security specialist, not as a lawyer, mind you), none of this evidence would be admissable in a court of law: if a company fired someone based solely on evidence provided by things like this, the employee in question could sue for unfair dismissal with a solid chance of winning. Therefore, it has negative value to the company -- it's useful only for generating pointless monitoring work, and for harassing employees and making them feel unhappy.

Spector...is great for the bosses (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601220)

I was given a task of trying to find a way to monitor pc usage time and what apps were being used, for how long, etc.
I got my hands on spector 360 which is a great app, and the engineers there are very up to date with all the kernel hooks and such, so when you need a customized or specific task, they understand what you are about.

I also was asked to set up certain reports to show what activity was going on (spector does this on its own)
So a chore that would have been a full time job became my bosses passed time, all i had to do was maintain the installations
and the rest was so user friendly ,my boss became his own policeman. Better the boss review any materials then any biased person at the company. He can also decide what recourse to take...in the end i found spector very good tool, except it always needed admin privileges to run, which i could not understand why they did that, but all in all very useful tool.

You could take a more cynical view (1)

swb (14022) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601264)

Or one of several cynical views.

You could take the anti-monitoring view and just bury all but the most egregious stuff or whatever minimum is necessary to keep from looking like you're not doing your job, up to and including submarining the monitoring effort through "problems" with the monitoring setup that require constant upgrades, maintenance and activities that take you away from your "real" job and render monitoring semi-worthless. People you like could be quietly advised that their computer is being flagged for "performance problems" and they should avoid "non-work tasks".

You could take the "info on my enemies" view and look at as a chance to dig dirt, keeping the juiciest info for yourself and passing along the trivial stuff, using the juicy info to damage enemies.

The thing I think is weird is that you get exposed to all the pervs in the office. I found one guy who was highly respected, married with a young child, a church-type who was into some weird sex thing where he swapped half-nude self-shots with other guys dressed in expensive suits and jacking off. This guy made six-figure coin and there was always a remote temptation to confront him with his pix and collect a second, cash-only income less his wife and pastor get in on the picture collection.

But I decided extortion wasn't my thing and figured anyone driven by that kind of sex craving and keeping up that facade was taking all the punishment he needed.

management- be careful what you ask for... (5, Interesting)

xmundt (415364) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601322)

Greetings and Salutations....
          A few years ago, one my my clients asked me to generate lists of the websites their employees had been on, and, how long they had spent on the sites. Since I run an in-house DNS server, not that hard to get. Well, I ran the reports for a few months, then, the project was quietly dropped. Why? It turned out that the only folks that spent significant amounts of time on porn sites and other non-business sites were the President of the company (who had ordered the reports) and his wife, the CFO of the company.
And THEY were burning a LOT of time on non-business related entertainment and shopping!
            What was really amusing to me about this was that these two folks had the attitude that they were the only ones doing anything positive for the company, and, the employees were the enemy - and were spending all their time trying to steal time and resources away from the company, cutting down on profit margin!
            Regards
            Dave Mundt

Get the *real* security to do it. (4, Funny)

6Yankee (597075) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601428)

At my last place, I'd often work a bit of overtime in the evenings, and I came to know the security guards quite well. I had to walk past the block they were based in, so I'd always pop in and say hello (and usually ended up chatting for an hour or more).

By contrast, there was some shiny-suit type in that same building who, if he even acknowledged the guard's existence, would give him (and me) a filthy look and keep walking. Naturally, one guard started wondering what use this guy was... and filmed him through the window, from the CCTV camera on the opposite building. For an hour. On overtime. Surfing porn. I didn't see Shiny-Suit Guy after that.

Moral: if you're going to misbehave at work, keep Security sweet :)

This is the anti-Unix approach (1, Offtopic)

davecb (6526) | more than 4 years ago | (#32601494)

To quote Doug Gwyn, "UNIX was not designed to stop its users from doing stupid things, as that would also stop them from doing clever things."

In Unix, one of the design principle is that you can do anything, even something insecure and stupid, but we can always find out what you did and whack you over the head.

Auditing what your users do so you can diagnose an error later is roughly O(n) with the number of errors. Predicting what users should be allowed to do and granting them permissions is maybe O(n^2) or worse with the number of things allowed. It works, but only for small numbers of allowed things. Watching everything users do doesn't scale at all: worst case, you could need as many sysadmins as users, O(n) with number of users.

--dave

AT&T doesn't let you do anything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601546)

AT&T doesn't even let you see the web except for a few whitelisted sites.

Their filter allowed *.org (like slashdot.org) and a few comic sites, so while there was downtime, a few employees would try to find something they could read.

Unfortunately, for the management of the day, this was unacceptable because it was "wasting bandwidth"

See, that I have to bone to pick... If you are not going to provide the employee with something to do during downtime, this behavior happens and is preferable to SNOOPING AROUND the company systems. So after being warned about that stupidity, I instead started reading all sorts of stuff management had in "readable to everyone" places using the company's own search engine.

So instead of reading about what calvin and hobbes might be doing, I instead read about potentially damaging internal policy that the management couldn't tell if I was reading it or internal policies.

Gee thanks.

This same call center also prohibited people bringing in books.

Political websites (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32601582)

It isn't just pornography that is blocked. What surprised me about the web-filtering at my work place was blocking of political sites of the far right, like The Occidental Observer Blog [theocciden...server.net] , The Occidental Quarterly Online, and Vdare [vdare.com] .

Vdare isn't even that extreme. They are pretty mild in their criticism of Jewish power. Their main focus is on immigration and its harmfulness to our country.

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