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Thread: Email legal question

  1. #1
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    Email legal question

    I occasionally send email to someone that works for an Australian company that has an American parent company. The mail server they utilise is I believe Exchange server and has a language filter installed. It appears that everyday words can trigger the filter. Words such as the commoner terms for urinate being an example.

    Whilst I can appreciate that such a filter may have it's place on outgoing mail or internal mail, I strongly object to mail from external sources being scrutinised.

    The real issue is that if such a mail is discovered the intended recipient doesn't get it but it is forwarded complete to the system admin in the parent Company in America. An automated response is returned to the sender. I strongly believe "hijacking " mail in this manner is surely legally questionable?

    I do not have to accept any terms and conditions to send a mail, can they be applied to an outside person/ can they be applied retrospectively?


    Any opinions?

  2. #2
    Friend of Staff fancyf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c60 View Post
    I occasionally send email to someone that works for an Australian company that has an American parent company. It appears that everyday words can trigger the filter. Words such as the commoner terms for urinate being an example.

    The real issue is that if such a mail is discovered the intended recipient doesn't get it but it is forwarded complete to the system admin in the parent Company in America. An automated response is returned to the sender. I strongly believe "hijacking " mail in this manner is surely legally questionable?

    I do not have to accept any terms and conditions to send a mail, can they be applied to an outside person/ can they be applied retrospectively?


    Any opinions?
    Yea... the guy you are writing to did ACCEPT terms and conditions when he decided to work there. You might not like it... ask him if he does... if not, he can always resign.

    ** emails about urinating might be fun to you and -him- so you can always send them to his home address.

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  3. #3
    Mod w/ an attitude Sterling_Aug's Avatar
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    The parent company makes all the rules. Anything they want to do with email (going in or coming out) it is their right to filter it any which way including up, down, and sideways. They can block it, they can delete it, and no one can stop it.

    Use Gmail, Yahoo mail, or other external email system if you do not want your mail to him being filtered.

  4. #4
    Administrator Steve R Jones's Avatar
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    Speaking of urinate...Do you allow guests in your house to do that on your living room floor or do you have rules againt that? What do you say to your friends that "strongly object" to your rule?
    "Vegetarians live up to nine years longer than the rest of us...Nine horrible, worthless, baconless years."

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    Funny that the company concerned does not expect THEIR email to be treated in a similar manner, see below from their outgoing mail : -

    "This electronic mail transmission contains information from *****which is confidential, and is intended only for the use of the PROPER ADDRESSEE. If you are not the intended recipient,
    please notify us immediately at the return address on this transmission,
    or by telephone at (+++) +++-++++, and delete this message and any
    attachments from your system. Unauthorized use, copying, disclosing,
    distributing, or taking any action in reliance on the contents of this
    transmission is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful"

    Seems they want it both ways.....

    Obviously any words used in my mails are because of mates banter, no harm on either side.
    Would you think it right if your work phone was tapped? your mobile phone? How is this different? You do all realise the company probably has MORE rights to read/remote view your screen for web accessed mail accounts? How many companies actually record all web page access or filter access to same? most nowadays I think. Last few I worked at certainly did and could list how long a person viewed between page changes. If a person did resign what does that solve? Nothing, If something is plain wrong it will still be wrong and that person is out of work to boot.

    I am amazed it is all taken with such a laid back attitude. Perhaps I see this as an erosion of freedoms and privacies fullstop, and see many are comfortable to give it up.

    The comment about guests urinating on the floor is just absolute rubbish, bears no comparison, rather poorly thought out I think.

  6. #6
    Mod w/ an attitude Sterling_Aug's Avatar
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    If you work at a company that filters emails, taps/tapes phone calls, monitors web usage, etc then quit and find another company or start your own.

    Steves' comment makes perfect sense about rules in your own house.

    Back off or you may be hearing the "ban stick" swish behind your head.
    Last edited by Sterling_Aug; 08-14-2009 at 11:09 AM.

  7. #7
    Administrator Steve R Jones's Avatar
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    c60 - if you owned your own business and paid people out of your pocket to do work for you to help make your business a success - which of the following two choices would you prefer?

    1) My employees do the work they are being paid to do.

    2) I don't care what they do or don't do. If they want to spend all day chatting and then my business goes under and I loose everything I own that would be just fine.
    Last edited by Sterling_Aug; 08-14-2009 at 11:08 AM.
    "Vegetarians live up to nine years longer than the rest of us...Nine horrible, worthless, baconless years."

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    I believe I have made a mistake. I should have addressed this question to a legal/law forum rather than one dominated by System admins and operators.

    My question was most certainly about the legality of actions not about the abilities of, or assumed rights of, companies or their technical support staff.

    I still believe such actions are ripe for challenge in law and quite probably have been enacted without checks or plans. Too many large Companies (not all) love rule by fear and creating the illusion they own people or people belong to their family when it suits. Firms are not family, for your own sakes don't go thinking they are....

    I don't think I have said anything that requires my writing to undergo moderating prior to posting but carry on doing so if you wish. A ban stick is plain laughable, please go ahead. Useless thread, delete by all means.

    Regarding slacking off work, I didn't say anything about that either, the person in question puts in 25 to 30 hours per week OVER paid hours, everyone should get a break. Please stop reading and writing your own distorted images into what I write.

    Last post.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Shoreguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c60 View Post
    I believe I have made a mistake. I should have addressed this question to a legal/law forum rather than one dominated by System admins and operators.

    My question was most certainly about the legality of actions not about the abilities of, or assumed rights of, companies or their technical support staff.

    I still believe such actions are ripe for challenge in law and quite probably have been enacted without checks or plans. Too many large Companies (not all) love rule by fear and creating the illusion they own people or people belong to their family when it suits. Firms are not family, for your own sakes don't go thinking they are....

    I don't think I have said anything that requires my writing to undergo moderating prior to posting but carry on doing so if you wish. A ban stick is plain laughable, please go ahead. Useless thread, delete by all means.

    Regarding slacking off work, I didn't say anything about that either, the person in question puts in 25 to 30 hours per week OVER paid hours, everyone should get a break. Please stop reading and writing your own distorted images into what I write.

    Last post.
    To you specific points about legality, etc., ISO/IEC 27002 should help you quite a bit in understanding how and why the IT/IS sector has authority, combined with corporate policy and procedure as set by executive commitees, board of directors, or whomever is delegated that authority by the corporate hierarchy.

    To you point about your friend, nice of you to have an opinion about how he/she deserves a break...but that doesn't allow you to dictate if your friend can use corporate assets for personal means. that again is mandated by company electronic usage and human resources policy and procedure. i have no clue as to what your friend's company policy states, but your panties in a wad have no effect over that policy or how it may or may not affect your friend.

    To your points concerning this forum, admin and moderators, it's managed by a bunch of guys who fix personal computers as hobbies, or may be certified to use an operating system. effectively, they live in caves and aren't allowed to interact with live humans during working hours. what do you expect when they can't comprehend your line of questioning as inquisitive and non-abrasive and immediately threaten banning, deleting, thread-locking, etc.? You did start it off however. perhaps next time you may try using google to find information on corporate electronic policy and industry standards organization policies, procedures and compliance.
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  10. #10
    Ultimate Member CrazyCrusher's Avatar
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    Corp Policies,,,read this and then come work for my company,,this is what it is and what it has to be like because of "knuckle heads" who browse and download meterial open attachments and bring down networks we work hard to keep up. NO pun intended but are you a Systems Admins nightmare?

    Electronic and Other Business Systems are Company Property. **** maintains a variety of Electronic and Other Business Systems. These systems are provided to employees to assist them in the conduct of the Company’s business. All such systems and all documents, files, back-up copies, communications, and recordings created on, handled by, or stored through these systems are the property of *********

    2. Access by the Company. ******** retains the right to intercept, access, monitor, review, copy, modify, or remove from its Electronic and Other Business Systems any material generated or maintained by ******** employees at any time and for any reason that the Company deems appropriate, with or without notice to the employee. Such reasons may include, but are not limited to, conducting Company business, assuring compliance with Company policies, and investigating allegations of improper or illegal conduct. Material covered by this provision includes, but is not limited to, e-mail, voice mail, and computer files and documents.

    3. Access to E-mail, Voice Mail, and Computer Files by Company Employees. An employee should not access or attempt to access another employee’s electronic communications, voice communications or messages, or computer files without the other employee’s permission or permission from the employee’s supervisor.

    4. Misuse of Electronic and Other Business Systems. In addition to any requirements established by the employee’s supervisor or division, employees are prohibited from using ********* Electronic and Other Business Systems in the following ways:

    • to make offensive, harassing, obscene, derogatory, or threatening communications;

    • to download, distribute, view, publish, print or send pornographic, obscene, sexual, ethnic, religious, racial, or other form of harassing, offensive or inappropriate material;

    • to install, download, distribute or send programs, files, or software of any kind from the Internet or other outside sources without permission from the applicable IT department;

    • to install, download or send computer viruses, worms, or chain letters;

    • to install, download, distribute, or send materials that would violate any copyright or trademark laws;

    • to connect home personal computers to the Company’s computer systems without permission from the applicable IT department and the employee’s supervisor;
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Lgbpop's Avatar
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    I'm not an admin or anything else, except old-fashioned, but IMHO you're out of line expecting a total stranger to adhere to your "standards" on their hardware, in their premises. The day you let me or someone else dictate to you how you will behave in your own home is the day I'll see your side of things.

    Why should it be any different simply because the owning entity is legal instead of human? If a corporate entity can be sued and be levied taxes, it can determine what policies it wants to apply to its own property.

    You have other alternatives to using work computers, haven't you?
    Thank God we're not getting all of the government we're paying for!

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