not ethical

5 pts.
Employee monitoring
Employee privacy
Privacy rights
is it okay to read the documents and look at the graphics files that are stored on user's computers or in their directories on the file servfer?

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depends on your ethics…….

…………but if you are in the UK then its definatly illegal to access peoples data without that persons, or asenior person (manager etc) permision under the DPA

If you are in the US, it’s probably no illegal as the data belongs to the company, not to the person, and as a company employee you can view the companies data you have rights to. However that said, if you have rights to view someone else’s data and you do so, you had better have a good reason for doing so. Most companies will fire a network admin for looking at someone else’s data.

As the admin you are expected to be a model employee considering the rights that you have on the network, and the access that you have. If you are caught violating the trust the company has in you, you will have a very hard time getting a good reference from the company or any co-workers.

Odds are looking at data that you aren’t suppose to be looking at will be a violation of the agreement you signed when you started working there.


The truth of the matter is, whatever employees don’t want you to see, they will save on their machine, or on a CD, or ona flash driv. Yes, it is possible for you to view this if u remote desktop, but for the most part, users are wise enough to not put questionable material. I view this situation as a tricky question because you may feel it is a security issue. Even so, you can establish the security without intruding on other’s rights. This being the case, there has to be other reasonable evidence or doubt necessary for looking at other’s files.


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  • BrentSheets
    121187, since this is your first question - let me explain about tags. You tagged your question with "1" which is meaningless. On future questions, please use tags that best describe your question. I removed the "1" and added a few tags for you. Think of tags as keywords that best describe what your question is about and deposit your question in the proper categories. Proper tagging helps other members find your question, so they can answer it. Thanks!
    6,940 pointsBadges:
  • Pressler2904
    Legality aside (and that's a WHOLE different issue, as so distinctly addressed above), the question as asked comes down to ethics... If your motivation is to see if there is illegal content stored on a specific share or in a certain location, then obtain permission from someone TWO LEVELS UP in the organization PRIOR to commencing your search. For example, as a Network Admin, I would ask the CIO, copying my supervisor (the Systems Analyst) before starting on a project like this. If you are fishing for information without an indication of wrongdoing, you cannot put aside the legal issue (see statement(s) above...). If you "just want to see" what's on certain drives or shares, ETHICALLY, I believe you'd be on very shaky ground. Again, separating the legal aspects from the ethical (moral, if you prefer) aspects of the issue might not be possible. If in doubt, your best alternative might be to take some guidance from Sir Isaac Newton's second law: An object at rest tends to remain at rest unless acted upon by some outside source. Unless you have a specific directive to look, don't.
    2,190 pointsBadges:
  • Lightmike
    Legally speaking there are privacy laws that should dictate your behavior. Since you don't know what kind of data you may run across, and since any given employee may have a business purpose to maintain privacy law protected information (i.e., personally identifiable financial or health care data), you definately run the risk of breaking a federal law. If you have no specific business reason to be looking at the data you are breaking the law and are exposing yourself to large fines and potential prison time.
    245 pointsBadges:

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