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Mailbag: Monitoring e-mail content

Oct 02, 20032 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMessaging Apps

* Readers weigh in on the possibility of screening e-mail for inappropriate content

I received many responses to my recent article on why enterprises should monitor their e-mail closely to reduce the potential for employees to receive inappropriate content.

Here’s a sampling of the messages I received:

* “If employee speech is not being recorded and monitored in any but an informal way, why would e-mail be treated differently? The problems described do not strike me as being markedly different than any other inappropriate speech in the workplace issue. It’s a behavior problem. Like that other popular behavior problem, wasting time while on the job, there might be heavy-handed ways one could attempt to manage the issue through technology – but ultimately it must still be handled interpersonally.”

* “You are probably correct that the technical solution of scanning messages for offenses for purposes of prevention will slowly work its way into the business mail sector. Companies that fail to get their management people to do their jobs properly will need to incur the added expense of computer software and servers to prevent the court cases.”

* “Now Big Brother not only wants to monitor what you say verbally, but they also want to monitor your e-mail. This is a perfect example of society suffering because a few people did not do their job correctly. Let’s not be so quick to jump on the easy quick-fix bandwagon of monitoring all e-mail. After all, this would be a much easier problem to deal with if it were handled appropriately.”

* “I have a number of customers that would like to monitor e-mails at the workplace, but they are afraid of the possible legal connotations [of] doing so [and] they really do not know how to accomplish this so that it does not become a full-time job (frankly, neither do I).”

* “Once people sign a sheet of paper acknowledging that their corporate e-mail is subject to investigation, salacious content and therefore the chance of a large lawsuit drops considerably also. Funny that.”

Thank you to all who provided their feedback on the article.