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Date: 1998-11-19

Paranoia am IT-Arbeitsplatz: Tatstatureingaben registriert

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q/depesche 98.11.19/1
updating 98.11.18/3

Paranoia am IT-Arbeitsplatz: Tatstatureingaben registriert

Laut geltendem US-Recht werfen Angestellte "mit Betreten
des Arbeitsplatzes automatisch ihre Persönlichkeitsrechte in
den Papierkorb und fischen sie erst nach Dienstschluss
wieder heraus" sagt ein Sprecher der American Civil Liberties
Union in dieser auszugsweise wiedergegebenen, sehr langen
Story der Village Voice. Der letzte Schrei im Überwachen
der Angestellten ist sogenanntes "keystroke-monitoring", das
jede Tastatureingabe registriert.

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Matt Goldberg
"One day my manager came into my cube and asked me to
open my e-mail outbox," Goralnik recalls. "Then she made
me open up each e-mail in succession and proceeded to
read them, one by one, standing right behind me at my desk."
According to Jeremy Gruber, legal director of the ACLU's
Task Force on Civil Liberties in the Workplace, situations like
Goralnik's are becoming increasingly common; electronic
monitoring in the workplace is the number one complaint
received by the ACLU. All across the country, companies are
monitoring (if not also restricting) the Internet use of millions
of employees, in many cases without the employees even
knowing about it.

"There's almost no limit to what an employer can do in terms
of watching their employees' activities," Gruber says. "And
it's all legal."
This software— with names like Net Access Manager, Cyber
Patrol Corporate, and Desktop Surveillance— allows
employers to see who their workers correspond with via e-
mail (and what is communicated), what sites they view (or try
to) and what files they download (and from where), not to
mention how long they spend online. In some cases, the
programs can also perform keystroke monitoring, which
enables employers to count the number of keys employees
hit each minute and to determine how long employees spend
away from their terminals— in the bathroom, for instance.
In a study completed earlier this year by CIO magazine and
the Massachusetts-based research firm ICEX, slightly more
than half of all companies surveyed utilized some sort of
Internet monitoring software.
"The biggest problem we see is people being caught off
guard, doing things they wouldn't normally do if they knew
they were under surveillance," says David Sobel, general
counsel for the Washington, D.C.­based Electronic Privacy
Information Center (EPIC). Examples abound. Recently, a
worker complained to the National Employee Rights Institute
that he'd been fired, despite 20 years of distinguished
service, because he'd used the company e-mail system to
keep track of some informal basketball bets placed by fellow
: the ACLU's Gruber recalls a complaint from an employee
who was immediately terminated after writing an unflattering
(but not libelous or defamatory) e-mail about his boss and
sending it to another employee.

"The courts have generally said that because the computer
system is the property of the employer they can basically do
whatever they want," says EPIC's Sobel.
As Gruber puts it: "When you enter the workplace at nine
you basically throw your copy of the Bill of Rights in the
garbage and fish it out again at five on your way out."

More than half of the companies in the CIO survey have
formal Internet use policies, up from just 31 percent in 1996,
says Rick Swanborg, who oversaw the study. Close to half

prohibit all "nonbusiness" use of the Internet at all times. (In
1996, a little more than a third of companies outlawed all
personal use of the Net.)

Full text

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published on: 1998-11-19
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