[Milton-L] Further to Gary Stringer's firing

Carol Barton cbartonphd at earthlink.net
Tue Mar 9 16:13:34 EST 2004


The corporate ruling on computer rights has always been that the company
(read: university) owns the individual station (PC or Mac) and everything
processed on it, including that which is downloaded or uploaded via its ISP
(Internet Service Provider).

That ruling has various interpretations (does or does it not include things
done on the employee's own time, such as during lunch? and so on), but the
safest way to protect yourself and your own privacy is to obtain and use a
separate account for your personal correspondence, and to keep as much as
possible off the school's machine, especially if it is of a private or
controversial nature. Things sent from or received by the university's
domain (your .edu account) are almost always fully accessible to it; even
things sent through Yahoo (a free e-mail service) or AOL (a paid ISP) may be
(since they are processed through the school's ISP unless you set up an
independent modem dialup), though in the latter case, access to the contents
may be more difficult to obtain. I am several years behind on the technology
at this point, and that may not even be true these days--especially with all
the furor over employees spending their working hours in chatrooms or
surfing pornographic sites.

Bottom line: don't send anything out, or receiving anything in, on your
academic computer that you wouldn't want plastered all over the front page
of the newspaper, or you may very well see it there, someday.

Best to all,

Carol Barton


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