The Only Opinions That Matter Since 2006!

2/1/07

Podcast 7 - Gene, Ben, Erik talk about computer forensics and privacy in the workplace

  • Gene Talks about a recent Computer Forensics class
  • Topic: Privacy in the workplace - more monitoring soon

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1 comment:

JeffP said...

Gene can you tell us what the class is? Is it put on by www.search.org?

Ben: The word you're looking for is "entrapment", not "enticement". Why would an employer WANT to 'entice' an employee to do something inappropriate and maybe illegal, so they can fire the employee? Most states have a 'right to work' sort of law, which means either party can end the relationship for pretty much any reason. "We don't need your services anymore, thanks" will do much of the time. One could sue for discrimination if they (think they) have grounds, but good luck with that.

Gene: Regarding the possession of kiddie porn, the legal term you are reaching for is Prima Facie evidence. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prima_facie Possession of child-pornography is in itself normally prima facie evidence of violating the laws to this effect. Unlike standing over the body of a shooting victim with a smoking gun in your hand...that is *not* prima facie evidence of 1st degree murder. Maybe some other laws, but not the big one. But basically, yeah, if you find kiddie porn, you need to properly take the evidence, lock it in a safe or secure it somehow, and call the cops. Don't make a copy, don't print out hardcopy, don’t send it in an email to HR. Those could all be constituted as "distribution" although that is a stretch of the law, and (usually) DAs are smarter than that...but no need to tempt fate.

Age of people in pornographic images: there are some medical and physiological techniques that can help estimate age, but Gene is right. If it's not obvious, an expert is usually asked to examine the material and make an expert opinion on the age. With kiddie porn, it's not a commercial production and won’t have an address, or participants names, for law enforcement to go ask questions of. They are pursuing the folks with images of kids under 12 or 14 or so, where it's obviously underage.

Privacy at work: I don't agree that by extensive use of RFID sensors one is creating a hostile work environment. It MAY be taken that way...the emergency vehicle tracking is an excellent example. The cops HATED IT when this stuff first got used, because they couldn't secretly go hang out at the girlfriends (or boyfriends) house during a slow shift. How a company does this, the politics of the message and how it is used is VERY subjective and can vary widely. But the fact that a company may want to do this? Fine, no problem. The company exists for the sake of the profitable advancement of the company (for-profit companies, at least), and if this is deemed as profitable, or at least cost-saving, by decreasing risk, increasing efficiency, etc then they should "make it so". I don't think it is automatically negative; that may be a knee jerk reaction, but on the whole? Not a big deal in and of itself. I also doubt that you would have a mass revolution and people quitting in droves. Morale may drop, but hey, what DOESN'T affect morale in the IT workplace these days?

Why would a company be collecting this data: Because it is the companies right to do so. The workplace is not a democracy. It's private property, and if management decides this is a good thing to do, they do it. There may be situations where an RFID sensor is placed every 5 feet. How about the datacenter at a major Certificate Authority? I can see this sort of tracking being considered reasonable in that sort of environment. I know you're playing devil's advocate, so I'm playing devil's advocates advocate.