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.
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.
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.