A new survey of US businesses says that the number of companies that are using email surveillance of their employees is rocketing.
According to an American Management Association (AMA) study, the largest increase surveillance, was in storage and in the review of email messages. Messages between employees tend to be informal and offhand, but have gained in importance in lawsuits, the study reported.
Companies that admit keeping track of internal email increased 12 per cent in two years from 14.9 per cent in 1997 to 27 per cent in 1999. It was also a seven per cent increase over the 20.2 per cent reported in 1998.
Of the roughly two thirds of all companies that said they keep watch over their staff, 84 per cent inform their employees, the survey said. In addition, after the fact review of computer use including times logged on and keystroke counts fell slightly, from 16.1 per cent in 1997 to 16.2 per cent in 1999.
The survey found that large companies are more likely to examine employee activities than smaller ones.
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