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Fighting for the moral high ground

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I've been taken to task over my unhappiness about totally legal e-mail snooping by pervy bosses. So here is the other side of the argument. The theoretical scenario is the discovery that a staffer has been storing offensive images on the office network.

OK, you have to take your informant's definition of 'offensive' on trust, so let's accept that a number of people would have found them offensive had they opened one when they thought they were opening a sewage layout drawing file.

Following the offensive downloader's relinquishment of employment, it turns out that he and his partner, still working in the office, are plotting revenge. Only by targeted snooping will it be possible to discover the details and avert an ITmeltdown.

So, my correspondent asks, wouldn't you snoop? Happily this column doesn't have the resources to answer that.

But what if said images had been stored in hidden and genuinely inaccessible files and their discovery had actually been the result of secretly e-mail-tracking a member of staff whose face didn't fit and about whom the office snoop had been ordered to gather dirt? Or what if . . .

So this sounds a bit like arguing over the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin. But maybe the procedures of the modern electronic office are in need of some such theological or even ethical examination.

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