Re: co-worker spy annoyance

From: Walter Roberson (
Date: 11/27/03

  • Next message: ssshades2: "Re: co-worker spy annoyance"
    Date: 27 Nov 2003 18:47:36 GMT

    In article <>,
    Leythos <> wrote:
    :The discussion was started ABOUT COMPUTER/NETWORK use - nothing about
    :the company car or toilets was mentioned. If you look at the sentence
    :you can clearly see that Hardware was a reference to their
    :computer/systems/network - I don't consider the bathroom to be in the
    :hardware category in (COMP means COMPUTER).

    Leythos, if companies have unlimited rights to monitor computer use,
    there has to be a legal backing for that right, and that legal backing
    has to override other potential rights such as "free speech",
    "anonymous pamphleteering", and "civil rights". You have not presented
    any legal basis for the right you suppose to exist, other than to hint
    that it falls out of the fact that the company owns the equipment. But
    companies own other kind of equipment at all, so if owning the
    equipment is sufficient then that supposed unlimited monitoring right
    would extend to other situations in which court cases have explicitly
    ruled against monitoring. It follows from this that either you are
    completely wrong and there is NO right to monitor, or else that there
    is a right to monitor computer use but the right is neither unqualified
    nor unlimited.

    :There is NO counter principal here - the network and computers belong to
    :the company and are under the full control of the company. They can and
    :are permitted to monitor anything they want in the network.

    Bathrooms belong to the company and under full control of the company,
    but courts have ruled that bathrooms cannot *always* be monitored
    because civil rights provide for privacy. Privacy is thus a counter
    principle, and it can exist in computer situations too.

    :If you can't address the issue that the person posted about, then why
    :even reply?

    I *am* addressing the issue. Your answer was that the OP definitely
    had no rights in the situation. I am demonstrating that the OP
    *might* have rights in the situation, but that a lot depends on the
    details we have not been told about.

    In my [computer-saturated] workplace, for someone to monitor exceeding
    authorization would be a serious violation of expectations of privacy,
    actionable under case-law interpretation of privacy rights. I am a
    manager, and I have the highest operational monitoring authorization in
    our local operation, but I could not lawfully do what is being reported as
    being done. The local circumstances are such that people do not
    expect me to be monitoring their email, so I may not do so. If we
    had clearly announced that I might be monitoring email, then I could.

    Expectations of privacy depend on the circumstances, and if the
    circumstances are such that a reasonable person would not expect
    monitoring, then in the USA the expectation of privacy can override
    property rights. The argument that "the company owns the equipment, so
    any reasonable person should expect monitoring just on general
    principles" is NOT a legally successful argument in case law -- the
    failure of that argument was established long ago, in the
    context of telephones. It isn't that companies do not have rights
    to monitor computers (or telephones): it's that they cannot
    use those rights in a covert fashion [but they -can- use those
    rights openly.]

    How does Usenet function without a fixed point?

  • Next message: ssshades2: "Re: co-worker spy annoyance"

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