OT hidden browsers/hostil work environment?

Seems like this came up here a while back but it wasn't relevant at the time.
Friend is working at a desk with internet access. We trade email through
the day (at no loss to productivity BTW) His boss has clamped down on all personal use - web browsing and email. There is monitoring of some sort.
We're looking for a work-around for email and/or browsing that is transparent to typical workplace monitoring. Anything out there?
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Try XEmacs and Gnus or VMail. Looks like an editor. Works to read email and usenet. You can program a single button like F7 to load a harmless looking work file.
i
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Text msg on the personal cell phone. If the boss wants to prohibit personal use of his computer he can. If he wants to monitor anything done on his machine he can.
If he wants to fire someone to make an example for the rest of the staff, he can.
I would not try and fool the IT department by working around the rules. If they want to they can see everything you see, click, or type.
--
Roger Shoaf
If you are not part of the solution, you are not dissolved in the solvent.
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Or just do your job......

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Rex wrote:

I'd try a different boss.
To be fair, the guy may well have one or two problem users and he's responding by clamping down on email and web access for everyone. If he's just doing it because he can then he's showing a very petty streak, and your friend would be better off without him.
--

Tim Wescott
Wescott Design Services
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Tim Wescott wrote:

Exactly right, on all counts. My friend does need to move on, but his personal situation (sole provider etc) does not leave him much margin. And he's probably the top sales guy in this outfit, after a short time with them. But he'll go nuts without some sort of means to connect outside during the slow times.
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Rex wrote:

Better be careful about trying to circumvent the monitoring programs. Most of the places that I know of that monitor, consider trying to get around the monitoring as a instantly terminating offense. Besides, most IT monitoring is done by using a keyboard logger, which logs every key stroke on the machine so they will see you loading a program to interfere with the logging routine.
Craig C.
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snipped-for-privacy@tigerbyte.net wrote:

Sounds like a real happy, trusting environment. Glad I work for myself.
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Rex wrote:

Talk to the boss.
If the guy is the best salesman he has, and he's willing and able to be discrete about his private e-mailing, why couldn't he get an exemption from this policy? Assuming he e-mails clients, the fact that he's using e-mail shouldn't give him away. If the boss has a specific target for this policy, or mistook your friend's e-mailing for time wasting, it might clear the air.
Stuart
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Probably, yes.

Yup, a letter of resignation. Their pipes, their rules.
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Dave Hinz wrote:

I'm what passes for the IT guy at our company. I don't currently monitor as the boss doesn't think there is a need to and I agree with him.
When I do have to monitor, Dave is right. My pipes, my rules. If you don't like it, leave.
technomaNge
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I don't watch either because (a) I don't want to, and (b) I've got better things to do, but, ... he's the boss. Luckily in mumble years of doing this I've rarely had bosses with whom I have ethical disagreements.

If the boss sucks for that reason, they probably suck for other reasons, yes. Time for an upgrade, one way or the other. I've applied such an upgrade once, and it's quite an enjoyable experience. (was the boss's boss's boss who sucked in that case, but point remains).
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True, but only in the financial industry, which is regulated by the SEC in the US. Email retention is required by SEC regulations in the US.
Does not apply to the rest of the business world, and most companies seem to have an email retention policy that says to delete from servers after a month or two.
Joe Gwinn
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Joseph Gwinn wrote:

I worked for a Japanese company in the Silicon Valley of California for a number of years. They did not "routinely" monitor anyone because they did not think they had a need to. There were no known cases of abuse and no complaints. (there were a couple of cases where I was asked to monitor the network communications of a couple of employees), and the company understood that their employees would use the email systems for occasional personal use. It was all covered in published corporate policies and procedures.
But there is definitely a difference between monitoring and archiving. I remember one time that an employee was terminated and escorted out the door. While he was being escorted out, The CEO of the company went to the Director of IT and asked him to retrieve any and all emails to and from this guy. Within hours the email server people had electronic copies of two years worth of email, and within a week they had (if I remember correctly) seven years worth.
As a simple rule of thumb, if you are using a company resource, don't say or do anything that you don't want the company to know about. It's their equipment and they can do just about anything they want to with it. If any of you happen to be working for a large corporation, you might ask to see any corporate polices on the subject. It could be very enlightening.
Wayne
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    [ ... ]

    Reasonable.
    Of course. After all, any serious business will have regular backups made -- including of the mail servers -- to deal with problems from as simple as a disk crash to as extreme as the building being destroyed by an earthquake or a terrorist action. These backups are done on a regular schedule, and older ones are moved offsite to protect against the destruction of the building. So -- fairly quickly, anything within the range of the on-site copies of the backups can be reovered, and with a bit more time, anything from the off-site backups. And this was not from any attempt to archive a given person's e-mail activity -- just from normal business backups.

    And note that for browser use, it is possible (and easy) to detect all connections on a given port (e.g. 80 for the web), and trace it to a specific machine on the desktop. If web browser use is totally forbidden, then any activity on port 80 will be tracked. The same for many other services, each of which have their own ports. (And, port 8080 is commonly used for a port to get around firewalls or other things which block port 80 -- or which prevent an unprivileged program from connecting to port 80, so that will be monitored as well.) Also, it is possible to determine which protocol is being used on any port, whether it is standard or not, so web activity on a different port can also be tracked.
    I remember one fellow who gave away accounts on a system under his control -- to people from outside the organization -- and who was running an IRC server on that machine. That was a serious violation of the policies, and eventually led to him losing his security clearance and being fired.
    Remember, as other have said -- he who owns the computers (the company) can make the rules.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
--
Email: < snipped-for-privacy@d-and-d.com> | Voice (all times): (703) 938-4564
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The very large company I worked for kept real time backups on servers in the UK, France and the US. All three systems synced with each other various times of the day and with each other as well. It was mostly for the engineers - many hardware and software at three sites that worked on the same project - so edits would be with all soon. One would reserve a file - edit it .... save back and it was in the queue. I suspect it was a trivial task to do for email.
Our software held over a million lines of code and the design teams did massive ASICS, PCB, Machine, etc.
It was something we set up - and being at the level I was and being across departs including IT - it was done long time ago before governments doing the same with all traffic.
The only good thing about SPAM is the feds get it like we do!
Martin H. Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net TSRA, Life; NRA LOH & Endowment Member, Golden Eagle, Patriot"s Medal. NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder IHMSA and NRA Metallic Silhouette maker & member. http://lufkinced.com /
DoN. Nichols wrote:

-
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DoN. Nichols wrote: <<<<<<<<<snippage>>>>>>>>>>

All of this discussion has been regarding Internet traffic, but it has just about always been possible to monitor switched voice communications (meaning telephone) just as easily as your network traffic. Up until recently it was the network/server people that monitored network traffic or email, and voice services people to monitor telephones. As more and more companies switch over to VOIP it can all be done at one time from one place and by one person. Note also that there are many companies including the big boys that offer these services, so even the small shops COULD be under the microscope. Big Brother is watching.
Wayne
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In my case then, Big Brother is getting terribly bored.
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I didn't see any change. My wife works in the financial world, and they were always required to retain all such things for about three years, so email was included as soon as it became significant. They also record all conversations on trading-desk phones. Yes, there is a beep.
By contrast, the billion-dollar company I work for deletes all emails older than a month or two. This began shortly after seeing Bill Gates entangled in his own emails during the Microsoft antitrust case, and was not changed by 9/11.
Joe Gwinn
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Back when I was responsible for a plants IS infrastructure every connection to the internet was through a proxy firewall www.fwtk.org There were logs of every connection but I only reviewed them if there was an issue and that was only a quick grep on a pc's ip and an eyeball scan. Leaving a printout of every sex site a scheduler visited in his top desk drawer with a message to stop fixed that one. (adjoining worker was seeing pron on his screen)
I really had better things to do than playing cop in the shop.
If your friend is a salesman then there are metrics for evaluating his performance. He is either making his quotas or not.
Wes
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