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Eavesdropping, legal or not?

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Old 08-27-2009, 07:18 PM   #1
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Eavesdropping, legal or not?

My wife is a manager at a small aerospace company. She discovered today that the owners are electronically eavesdropping on conversations. It is done through the phone system, and is called silent monitoring.
Does anyone know if this legal or have any experience with anything like this?
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:19 PM   #2
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well some could argue its an invasion of privacy, but if its their workpalce, then i guess they could do it.
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beastlytaco View Post
well some could argue its an invasion of privacy, but if its their workpalce, then i guess they could do it.
x2 - if they're at work, then they should be talking about work stuff and the management are probably entitled to hear it. Doesn't make for a very motivated workforce though.
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:22 PM   #5
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This outta be interesting... It should be illegal IMO.
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:24 PM   #7
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Eavsdropping and business phone line monitoring are two different things. I'm sure you would find that there are rules regarding the use of the phone/computer/info systems at the office that all new employees have been shown.

It's a company asset...They have the right to see it being used in the ways they deem fit. Same as internet (they probably monitor that too) and may even have access to e-mails....
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:24 PM   #8
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I believe in california its a felony to do so if they are the owners. the thing i remember is that its okay to videotape as long as there are signs saying that you are being monitored but it cant be with sound. if it is with sound it is an invasion of privacy and they can be sued. at least that is what i have heard.
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:33 PM   #10
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The federal Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2510 et seq., prohibits the willful interception of telephone communication by means of any electronic, mechanical, or other device without an applicable exemption. There are two principal exceptions:
Federal Exceptions

Consent: In the absence of more restrictive state law, it is permissible to intercept and record a telephone conversation if one or both of the parties to the call consents. Consent means authorization by only one participant in the call; single-party consent is provided for by specific statutory exemption under federal law. 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2511(2)(d).
"Business telephone" exception

The "business telephone" exception, which generally allows monitoring of calls and taping over an extension phone which is both provided to a subscriber in the ordinary course of a telephone company's business and is being used by that subscriber in the ordinary course of its business. This provision generally permits businesses to monitor the conversations of their employees, including personal conversations.


but for the fact that California is an all-parties consent state (one of 12).

So now I'm not so sure....but my mind set is "If you've got nothing to hide....Who cares?"
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:36 PM   #11
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On a business phone there is typically the recorded greeting that says "this call can be monitored for training purposes" making it legal. At the company where I work the customer service lines are monitored by a computer that is programmed to "listen" for certain words. When one of those words is heard by the computer an e-mail is sent to the supervisor with a time stamp so they can listen to the recording to hear if there is any problem with the service. I don't know who chooses the words that are listened for.
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:51 PM   #12
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i can see monitoring phone calls but using the phones to hear employees while just talking in the office sounds fishy. its like planting a bug in the office. again though, if the employees are made aware the phones on monitoring them while not on the phones, then thats a different story.
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Old 08-27-2009, 07:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brunes View Post
So now I'm not so sure....but my mind set is "If you've got nothing to hide....Who cares?"
Agreed, it's just one of those things that makes you feel violated.
For me at my work, they use recorded phone calls to see if was you who screwed up or the customer. They record your computer screen and use it as a "teaching" tool to show you how you can be more efficient. E-mail is monitored for security reasons. I get a little nervous sometimes when I'm looking at TW at lunch or breaks and someones signature or avatar is over the top.
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Old 08-28-2009, 04:56 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fletch aka View Post
Agreed, it's just one of those things that makes you feel violated.
For me at my work, they use recorded phone calls to see if was you who screwed up or the customer. They record your computer screen and use it as a "teaching" tool to show you how you can be more efficient. E-mail is monitored for security reasons. I get a little nervous sometimes when I'm looking at TW at lunch or breaks and someones signature or avatar is over the top.
I don't feel violated at all. If they managed to save a few bucks or uncover something someone else is doing that is illegal/dangerous to the business by monitoring the phones...Good for them. I wouldn't use the company phone/e-mail to talk dirty to my wife and I don't do anything that is illegal.

I'm a bit more accustomed to it because all the stuff I touch us monitored or controlled (Gov't networks/phones).
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Old 08-28-2009, 05:12 AM   #15
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Being it's an aerospace company it may have Federal contracts. I am sure the Patriot Act is a loop hole to get around any laws. The monitoring may be a government contract line item.
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Old 08-28-2009, 05:39 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brunes View Post
I don't feel violated at all. If they managed to save a few bucks or uncover something someone else is doing that is illegal/dangerous to the business by monitoring the phones...Good for them. I wouldn't use the company phone/e-mail to talk dirty to my wife and I don't do anything that is illegal.

I'm a bit more accustomed to it because all the stuff I touch us monitored or controlled (Gov't networks/phones).
It's not the phone line recording that just came to light. That has been assumed all along, it's all conversations in the office that are being listened to, breaks and lunches included. You don't have to be on the phone to be listened to, they are using a feature built into the phones.
We are with you 100% on the illegal/dangerous and/or anything else that may affect the business. The part that she felt violated on is she is the HR manager, you assume some amount of privacy with the employees.
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Old 08-28-2009, 09:29 PM   #17
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ask richard nixon, he should know
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Old 08-28-2009, 09:43 PM   #18
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Well working for the Federal Government in the IT field I understand and have counseled members of the Coast Guard that in order to access telecommunications systems they are subject to monitoring at ALL times including telephone systems.

If the company has in place, consent to access forms that employees sign saying they understand then they have nothing.

You need to specify eavesdropping or monitoring. Eavesdropping implies listening devices picking up casual conversations around the workplace. Monitoring on the other had means that by accessing company owned systems the company selectively monitors telephone conversations or computer activity.

It amazes me the amount of Military people on TW that look for ways to bypass the censors in the workplace. If you only knew...
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Old 08-29-2009, 06:27 AM   #19
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If you're at work and using company property (phone), then it's legal.

Legalities? I would think the company should make all its employees aware that their conversations could be monitored. And - what the company does with the 'information they're listening to' is another story.

Where I work, before you log into the computer....there's a huge disclaimer and you have to click OK before actually logging in. The computers & everything else must only be used for business purposes. We have internet access, e-mails, etc. They have the right to look & read everything you're doing and take notice to all websites that you visit. The company is pretty good about it.....as long as its not interfering with your job. Facebook, Myspace and even Ebay have been restricted from the work computers. Anytime a site gets too much traffic from work, they restrict access.
You can get online and do normal browsing. It's the inappropriate stuff they don't like.

And yeah....people have gotten FIRED because they were visiting 'inappropriate' sites while at work. That's a major NO-NO. Big brother does watch....and they walk your ass out without any warning.
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Old 08-29-2009, 06:45 AM   #20
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its legal. thier company their building their phone
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