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Can my boss see my mail and instant messages?

I sent a co-worker an instant message through MSN messenger regarding our boss. (We were both in the same office at the time). My boss was seen at my desk looking through my computer. He has spyware installed on the system. Can he retrieve my old MSN instant message that I sent to my co-worker?

Oh my, could he ever. I hope what you said wasn’t too awful.

Even if he wasn’t standing at your desk, there are several ways that he could be keeping track of what’s going on with your computer.

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Obviously, if he’s standing at your desk looking through your computer, just about anything that you can see, he can see. That part’s obvious.

What’s not as obvious is that, like your boss, many businesses apparently install spyware – either on your machine or on the machines that control your access to the internet – and log the traffic. That can be viewed from anywhere the company chooses to allow it.

Looking Closely Remember, when you’re using an instant messenger program, even if the person you’re chatting with is sitting right next to you, the instant messages will travel on the internet. When you send an IM, the message goes out to the service (AOL, MSN, etc.) where it’s routed to the recipient and sent to them. All of this happens over the internet, and if your company is monitoring internet traffic, they can monitor this as well.

The bottom line is that it’s really the company’s machine, and you should assume that all email, all IMs, anything are all visible to your boss, his boss, and your company’s IT department.

In a nutshell, your privacy ends where your paycheck begins.

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14 comments on “Can my boss see my mail and instant messages?”

  1. If a supervisor (say her name is JILL)controls the company’s email “post office” in Outlook, and selectively creates a path in the properties file to route any emails that are sent to a given person (say JACK)from anyone in that company to her by creating a path , is this legal?

  2. I have emails sent (family members)from another computer besides our home.My question is how do I find out who own’s these email address’s
    and what was emailed to them.This is a minor conducting these operations,I need to know what was said on these emails and who received these.
    Thank you so much

  3. Instant messages are ONLY recorded if they are set to save. If you dont want people to see the logs just go to Tools -> Options -> Messages, then click OFF the option to keep the history…..Either that or just dont talk about your boss over messenger lol

    Might be wize following the link in the options and deletings your old logs to, you are entitled to your privacy after all.

    Oh and Jen, dont be so nosey, give your kids some privacy 🙂

  4. I am a teenage girl and I think it is a total violation of privacy for a parent to rumage through their kid’s IM messages unless they have high suspicions (sp?) that their kid is up too something dangerous/illegal.

  5. i know that this is wrong but i just recently found out that my wife had an affair. i’m currently in iraq and i have no way of knowing if it has ended. is there a way that i can retrieve her im from myspace?

  6. I have a feeling my step-mom has retrieving my instant messages, but i dont know how. i have used her computer before. And i have changed my password several times. i just dont know how she could possibly do that.. can she?

  7. Hi I use my AOL account for personal use on my company’s laptop If my company monitors or ever looks at my laptop can they access/track my AOL emails or websites that I have visited ? Will it help if I clear my footprint/do disc clean ups and delete emails or save them to my aol account?


  8. ive been using yahoo chat for years.the problem is a sicko who comes in the room and he has now figured out how to hack others peoples im’s. its getting realllllly annoying. he’s been reported to yahoo numerous times, standard reply, ignore him. but he can still see us even when we cant see him. Is there a way to stop him?? all we need is an address and i plan to turn him as a pediophile…

  9. If you have a university email address, the university is your email service provider (ESP) in the same way Gmail, Hotmail or anyone who provides you with an email address is an ESP. The administrators of that server have access to all of the emails that pass through their servers. It might be a good idea to treat that account as you would for any company you work for and be careful about how you use that email account. Unlike many companies, universities don’t discourage you from using your university address for personal emails, but considering the access they have to your emails, I’d think twice about using it for personal correspondence.


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