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legality of reading other peoples emails

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legality of reading other peoples emails - 10.Apr.2002 5:19:00 PM   


Posts: 4
Joined: 25.Mar.2002
From: England
Status: offline
Hi all,

A lot of people say that if the administrator reads a users email then he/she is guilty of something like stealing letters from someones post. What i need to do is track who a person is sending mails to and what the content of those mails are. Would a policy be required to be signed before such an action can be taken, is it possible to do, if so how?

Many thanks
Post #: 1
RE: legality of reading other peoples emails - 13.Apr.2002 5:15:00 AM   


Posts: 9
Joined: 13.Apr.2002
From: Philadelphia, PA
Status: offline
YES, YES. Unless you want to be facing jail time. Unless a user has granted you access to his email (even for troubleshooting without his knowledge), then anything that is found is not legal in court (unlawful search). Even with a policy you normally have to just cause or prior approval from some like an H/R person. You can troubleshoot mail failures, but reading the content is very, very sensitive and should be handled accordingly.

(in reply to markmccullagh)
Post #: 2
RE: legality of reading other peoples emails - 17.Apr.2002 1:00:00 AM   


Posts: 77
Joined: 22.Jan.2001
From: Schaumburg, IL
Status: offline
Hi Sasha, do you know of a place people could reference that information? I have been recommending a policy about that for awhile, but my boss won't implement it because it is too much hassle, and he does not think it is required.


P.S. markmcc: I notice your profile says you are from England, and Sasha is from Pennsylvania. Be sure to double check English law vs. US law on this, it might be different.

(in reply to markmccullagh)
Post #: 3
RE: legality of reading other peoples emails - 17.Apr.2002 3:33:00 PM   


Posts: 4
Joined: 25.Mar.2002
From: England
Status: offline
Thanks Lads, its seems without going to a lawyer, proper local information on this is hard to come by. I've spent a bit of time trying to find out exactly what the law is on this and it doesnt seem to be recorded anywhere. I've decided to get in touch with a security specialist firm who deal in this sort of thing. Because this is not for my company I'm kinda out in the cold on it but when it settles then i'll let you know what they say on the matter.

I'm surprise that microsoft dont have some literature on this, they and everyone else seems to not want to know, even in an advisory capacity. Maybe as its such a grey area nobody wants to get involved.

Thanks again.

(in reply to markmccullagh)
Post #: 4
RE: legality of reading other peoples emails - 23.Apr.2002 3:34:00 PM   


Posts: 3
Joined: 3.Apr.2002
From: U.S.
Status: offline
I'm not a lawyer and my company does not do this (nor do we want to to my knowledge) but I think U.S. Federal courts have in the past decided in favor of the corporation on this. Basically, the courts have decided that the corporation owns the assets (server, PCs, software, LAN/WAN connections, etc) and the employee has no "right" to expect privacy in regard to when and how those assets are used. The privacy advocates such as ACLU fight where they can but I don't think they have a lot of past case history to fight with because this is a new area of concern/exploitation. Regardless, MS Exchange has the ability to journal messages sent through the Internet mail service using the IMS Extension (Imsext.dll). You can read more @exchangeadmin.com instant doc #8259. I for one would be very hesitant to implement this in my enviroment though... it just opens up a huge can of worms in my opinion. And yes, I would have a policy approved by the corporate lawyers that states the employee "agrees to monitoring" by simply logging on to a company asset. This post is in no way to be interpreted as legal advice!

(in reply to markmccullagh)
Post #: 5
RE: legality of reading other peoples emails - 26.Apr.2002 7:27:00 PM   


Posts: 15
Joined: 26.Apr.2002
From: colorado
Status: offline
Sasha is wrong, wrong, wrong.
Email belongs to the company, along with all the equipment used to deliver it.
And while an email may not stand up in court, it sure as heck could get you fired.

(in reply to markmccullagh)
Post #: 6
RE: legality of reading other peoples emails - 1.May2002 3:45:00 PM   


Posts: 3
Joined: 3.Apr.2002
From: U.S.
Status: offline
Ruling Allows Employer To Revoke E-Mail Access

The New York State Education Department said employee Michael Darcy had ignored warnings about unauthorized use of E-mail.

By Larry Greenemeier, InformationWeek
Apr 30, 2002 (12:00 AM)
URL: http://www.informationweek.com/story/IWK20020430S0004

An employer has the upper hand when deciding how and when company E-mail is used, according to a New York appeals-court ruling, which gives the New York State Education Department the right to take away the E-mail privileges of employee Michael Darcy.

Darcy's E-mail had first been shut down in 1999 when he ignored repeated warnings from the department not to communicate via departmental E-mail with his fellow union members concerning contract negotiations and pending legislation that could result in layoffs of union members.

Darcy won an appeal before the New York State Public Employment Relations Board, which determined in 2000 that Darcy was engaged in protected activity when he communicated via education department E-mail with other union members regarding terms and conditions of employment. The judge ordered the department to restore Darcy's E-mail access.

But a New York state appeals court last week upheld the department's right to suspend Darcy's E-mail privileges.

"If it wasn't for the labor-law issue, this is an open-and-shut case," says Stewart Baker, a partner with Steptoe & Johnson LLP and head of the law firm's technology practice. The employer gets to set the rules for using E-mail, he says, because it's providing the service for its employees.

(in reply to markmccullagh)
Post #: 7
RE: legality of reading other peoples emails - 1.May2002 9:58:00 PM   


Posts: 40
Joined: 23.Jun.2000
From: Toronto, Canada
Status: offline
Even thought the business owns the equipment, software, network etc. etc. I do believe that I read you must let your employee know that E-mail is not to be considered private and is owned by the company. You don't have to have a policy that says you are going to monitor mail. However, some warning to staff should be given.

(in reply to markmccullagh)
Post #: 8

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