General Question

mea05key's avatar

Could a company administrator view what you browse during work time?

Asked by mea05key (1802 points ) February 19th, 2009

Advice needed. Thanks

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9 Answers

dynamicduo's avatar

Short answer: yes. You should always assume that your web browsing at work is monitored and analyzed.

Long answer: it depends on having the required technology (such as IT guys who are logging what goes through the company’s internet lines) as well as any technology policy which allows or prohibits the use of company assets (both their computers and their internet connection) for non-work related tasks. If your company has such a policy, there is a non-zero chance that your internet activities at work will be monitored and possibly summarized and given to your boss. They may also be able to access it and use the logs to support a work-related action (such as firing or demotion).

imhellokitty's avatar

yep, they can and yep they will. So don’t be job searching on line while at work!

girlofscience's avatar

I don’t think my web browsing at work is “monitored and analyzed.” I’m sure people could look at it if they wanted to, but I doubt anyone does.

One day, I was working on a project in which I needed to compile a large set of emotionally negative pictures. For about three hours, I was doing nothing but google image searches for things like, “mutilation,” “amputation,” “lethal injection,” “dead animal,” “syringe,” “starving cat,” “vomit,” “gross toilet,” “jail,” “devastation,” and “misery.”

If my web browsing was really being monitored, I think someone would have asked me I needed counseling.

dynamicduo's avatar

The chances of your web traffic being monitored and analyzed are admittedly low, and the odds generally go down the smaller the company is that you are working for or the more tolerant they are to modern day internet usage (such as using Facebook while on your lunch break). But there are still companies that feel it is in their right to watch over whatever you browse on their paid time, and who may choose to take action against you for such. Similarly, many companies choose to pay for a firewall or other network management tool which blocks access to a list of sites that various list providers make, usually porno and gambling sites, but sometimes things like BoingBoing or Facebook.

@girlofscience – they likely wouldn’t ask you directly about such queries, and it seems unlikely that you would have any repercussions since your web browsing was related to work. This is the “tolerant to modern day usage” I mention above. Internet logic if you will. Unfortunately there are many companies who do not have this logic. Just because you have not been asked about your internet usage does not mean in some database somewhere, your account was flagged automatically for “weird and strange internet usage”.

StellarAirman's avatar

I got fired from a job once for basically looking at random internet sites all day and not doing my job. I wasn’t look at anything like porn, it was just electronics and games sites, but I basically did it all day without actually doing anything productive. I hated the job and didn’t really care. They tracked all my usage one day and printed off a stack of 200 pieces of paper with my internet usage for that day and gave it to my boss and he then said I could quit or be fired, haha. So it definitely can and does happen, if the internet is being abused on company time.

I know if I was running a business I would monitor usage a lot more than a lot of companies do. It can be such a huge draing of productivity when people are just messing around reading the news or blogs or Facebook, etc all day without actually doing any work.

Grisson's avatar

Not only can they monitor your web activity, they can monitor what you see and do on the machine in general if they want to. If you’re technically savvy, you can usually spot the executable that’s doing that, but there’s not a whole lot you can do to stop it.

My boss, once ordered that IT monitor my entire team without telling me. We noticed the performance hit and found the culprit right away. I sent an e-mail to the team copying my boss and the IT Director telling the team what was going on, that they were being monitored, and if the monitor process interfered with their job that they should locate and kill it. I also said that if IT was going to monitor my team they should inform me.

I got an apology from both my boss and the IT Director.

TheFonz_is's avatar

yes but it doesnt seem to stop us all being on here does it?

bodyhead's avatar

Because of the economy, my boss came to me and asked for printouts of what everyone in the comany was looking at online. He used those sheets to decide which people to lay off.

lercio's avatar

I manage the web access for the company I work for. Everything goes through a proxy so we can track all the activity of our users. In truth we only look at generalised statistics unless a particular manager asks for specific information. I get the impression that they do this when they want an excuse to fire someone.

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