Big Brother is watching you, doing Sweet FAMarch 12 - 8am
Forever the scene of blockbuster Hollywood movies, Harvard University generally forbids filming on its property, with most shots filmed elsewhere.
Directors of Good Will Hunting, Legally Blonde and The Social Network each found alternative locations to shoot, but why?
It seems the Harvard big cheeses forbid the use of cameras, incase any picked up on it’s frequent staff spying, an apparent routine occurrence on campus.
While the opening two paragraphs of this story fall under the bracket of complete bollocks, the third threatens to be true.
An alleged military like operation at the University saw the emails of sixteen resident deans secretly searched, in a sly attempt to reveal the snitch who leaked details of a cheating scandal to the media.
But in an attempt to locate the squealer, Harvard effectively shot itself in the foot – raising the question of company security, and the secrets that go on when workers log off for the day.
Peeping around corridors and eavesdropping conversations in the canteen is one thing, but have you been electronically spied on by your boss?
Many may believe this to be true, but what actually constitutes as ‘spying’ and what can your employer legally get away with?
Employers have been known to install key logging programs on employee computers, designed to record every single keystroke used.
Allowing them to read everything you type, this intrusive form of practice even covers usernames and passwords – whether for personal or professional use.
A relatively unsubtle and easy way to get yourself fired, mixing work with pleasure on your social media sites usually ends in disaster – through some half-naked photograph or foul-mouthed status update aimed directly at your boss.
Discussing or disparaging the business on social media usually interferes with company policy, as does going on holiday when apparently sick or even sexually harassing employees.
Although they seem relatively standard slip-ups to avoid, when alcohol is involved, its mix with technology can be catastrophic.
Most companies have written contracts allowing it to monitor staff websites, which tend to overrule the relatively weak law preventing such an act. Pretty pointless law really.
But using company computers to do your private business is ill-advised, whether that be hardcore porn sites or simply buying flowers for the wife online, internet usage is becoming an even bigger stick which companies are using to hit employees with, and hard.
And now onto the big one, email monitoring:
While the previous points can all wind-up with the same end result, most employees can accept their own stupidity as the cause of dismissal under the other three brackets.
But with email monitoring however, the subject is more sensitive.
Nowadays, employees shouldn’t expect their email messages to go unmonitored, especially given courts usually side with the employer when it comes to email privacy.
When push comes to shove, emails are simply not private. Providing companies hold a valid business purpose for doing so, then it will also hold a legal reason for doing so.
By treating emails, online and everything else that takes place within the confines of a computer screen as if it was a public declaration beamed around the world, employees should have no reason to every slip up.
So for those sly buggars either fraternising with the enemy, planning their next holiday or simply doing sweet FA, be very aware your every move is watched, whether you think so or not.
Are you aware of your company monitoring staff at your workplace? Tell us your experiences below?