I know email is not secure but is it private?

Discussion in 'Email Discussions' started by Tom_43S, Oct 12, 2015.

  1. Tom_43S

    Tom_43S New Email

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    I am asking this question because of a situation that arose last year in relation to my wife's personal email account. She had been chatting to a friend and colleague (A) about the activities of another member of staff (B) in her office and had made a comment with humorous intent (not derogatory) about the individual. A few days later the content of the email was apparently "leaked" to the MD by her line manager and although no disciplinary action was felt necessary, it caused her acute embarrassment. She spoke to the recipient (A) of the email who denied absolutely that she had been responsible for the leak, but this led to A in turn asking one of the IT engineers to check on access to her email account. The IT engineer was able to find out that the individual (B) mentioned in the email had illegally accessed the email account and was able to show when it had happened and which PC in the office that she had used to make a printout of the email. She then recollected that while in a meeting with the B mentioned in the email, she had been called away and had left her in the office and had left her diary on her desk. This diary (foolishly) contained her email password (among others), and it was felt most likely that the B had found the password and had used it to access A's email account. When this was brought to the attention of the IT manager his action was to delete all evidence of the illegal access under the guise of "routine housekeeping"and the IT engineer who had done the detective work was threatened with dismissal if he made any further mention of the issue. My question is "Was any of this illegal, and if so, what action(s) was/were illegal?
     


  2. popowich

    popowich EQ Forum Admin Staff Member

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    Hi Tom,

    It's going to depend in part on the company IT and privacy policies.

    Your wife should document as much as she can with specific dates and those involved in case it's needed for HR or legal someday.

    It's possible the password from the diary wasn't needed, and that's tough to prove anyways.

    What state was this in? If it's outside the United States, which country did this take place?

    Personally, an environment like that I'd move on to a new job. I understand that's not always easy but I'd be looking for my next move and leave the grief behind.
     

  3. Tom_43S

    Tom_43S New Email

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    Hi,
    Thanks for your prompt response. It happened under UK law and it's all water under the bridge now. "B" and the line manager have both left the organisation (there was quite a bit of friendship and "favouritism" involved between the line manager, the IT manager & B) ) . The email accounts in question (that of my wife and of "A" were both personal email accounts unconnected with the organisation, so I'm not sure whether the company IT policies are relevant. B used company IT assets to access the email account and to printout the email. The evidence trail uncovered by the IT engineer "vanished" when my wife and A raised a complaint about the email access. It was all a bit unpleasant but the complaint went nowhere. It made us wonder if the organisation actually had an IT or privacy policy. Certainly no one seemed to pay any heed to it if there was.
     

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