As technological advances inspired more advances in communications and security, the American public quietly gave up much of their rights to privacy. This most likely started with the installation of cameras in banks, stores and other businesses. People soon got used to these cameras and it wasn’t long before cameras began being installed on every street corner in the United States.
People became conditioned to these cameras and currently we have cameras mounted in drones filling the skies of America and apparently it doesn’t bother the American public to be under constant surveillance. In addition with the advancement of social networking sites and email, the right to privacy in the United States is almost nonexistent.
A few months ago a woman was online looking for information on pressure cookers. At about the same time her husband was Googling backpacks. A few hours’ later six men from a joint terrorism task force showed up at their home to see if they were terrorists.
How did the cops know what they were Googling? Apparently the husband had been recently released by a computer company and the Google searches had taken place on the employee’s workplace computer. It was his former employer that notified the authorities and monitored his computer searches and emails.
Today it is estimated that two out of three U. S. employers are using some kind of electronic monitoring of employees. GPS units are being installed on company vehicles and if an employee makes an unscheduled stop at his or her favorite coffee shop the company knows it. Internet use of certain words, such as, “pork,” “team” “bomb,” or “White House” will be noted and checked out by Homeland Security.
Employers are also monitoring the social media sites of their employees and potential employees. Fifteen states have banned this practice, but it’s still legal in thirty-five states, including Idaho. In addition the company you work for is probably looking at your email sent on company computers. Although there is some protection under the “Electronic Communications Privacy Act” the law is weak and employers may sneak consent forms into applications and contracts to circumvent your right to privacy.
Probably the most intrusive programs that employers use is Keylogging programs. Keyloggers see everything you type including your passwords. Some of the Keylogger programs that could be installed on your office computer are: “CyberPatrol,” “Sniper Spy,“ or IamBigbrother.” These hardware or software devices record keystrokes. Although a major invasion of privacy, they are legal in many jurisdictions and currently there is no federal law prohibiting their use.
If you want to stay out of trouble with your employer, I suggest you read and understand your company’s internet usage policy.
Quote for the Week: “Lawyers houses are built with the hollow heads of fools.” ---Unknown.