Pssst . . . Wanna Buy Some Data?
Who says industrial espionage is a relatively new thing? Man has always recognized technology as a means to gain power over another, so they guarded their secrets carefully. Alchemists of the medieval period all had their secret notebooks full of coded lists ingredients and amounts that pointed toward the synthesis of gold. In our modern world, industrial espionage is rampant. Information can be stolen by casual employees looking into databases, to hackers brute-forcing the company server, to hired teams of burglars, to exploration of dumpsters behind company fences.
[the following snippet is from a recent article in Electronic Messaging News, Volume 10, Number 2, January 21, 1998] SHHH, E-MAIL SURVEILLANCE UNDER WAY
Corporate E-mail is sending tremors throughout the business sector as employees scream for privacy rights and employers shield themselves from liability lawsuits.
Companies also worry that proprietary information could leak out at thebclick of one key.
New York-based American Management Association found that 14.9 percent of 31,906 surveyed organizations store and review electronic messages.
Arlington, Va.-based American Society for Industrial Security estimates that intellectual property theft costs corporate America $24 billion annually. Approximately 74 percent of those security breaches happen on the inside.
Still A Resistant Market
But E-mail packages that aid administrators with E-mail surveillance are being received with mixed emotions. On the one hand, employees feel their privacy is being invaded , prompting them to coin the products "censorware."
On the other hand, proponents of the technology feel surveillance products make E-mail systems secure for employees and employers alike, weeding out inappropriate language and content that may be threatening to an enterprise.
"In many instances, the joke is being circulated by a supervisor - if [the enterprise] is using software - the message is caught before it is ever delivered," says Michael Overly, an attorney with Los Angeles- based Foley and Lardner, a law firm. "If done well, it takes the employee out of the loop, and no one has to step out and complain about a joke while everyone else is chortling about it in the halls. are starting to see the value in that - it's not just an issue of employee privacy. They benefit from these systems."