Suppose I'm at work and log on to my AOL account. Is the personal email I shoot off to my friend a private message or can my employer read it? Going forward, privacy will be a HUGE issue for American workers as we try to use electronic devices to help ease our work/life balancing act.
Citrix Systems in Fort Lauderdale just launched Bring Your Own Computer program to save money on technology expenses. Full-time employees who enroll in the voluntary three-year program get cash to buy a laptop and maintenance plan. Employee Carolyn Van Vurst told the SunSentinel she loved the idea of having a single laptop for personal and business, having her life on one device instead of separated.
And then there's the zillions of people who work the e-shift -- people like Joe Soto, general manager of an ad firm who told Associated Press he felt awful after two days without his BlackBerry. He says he regularly checks work email on weekends and finds it hard to disconnect from work.
But is the blending of work and our personal lives on our electronic devices lulling us into a false sense of security about our privacy?
Let's look at the embarrassing saga of former Miami Herald reporter Tania deLuzuriaga who found herself embroiled in a scandal over the past few weeks. Emails began circulating that appear to show incoming Miami-Dade schools chief Alberto Carvalho had an intimate relationship with her while she covered the school district. The e-mails were sent back and forth from their work computers. Carvalho has asked for an investigation to determine how the e-mails were leaked. But I say, does it really matter?
Most of us send personal e-mails from our work computers. I do. It's how I maintain my work/life balance. I really don't think about my employer reading my e-mails each time I hit send. Maybe I should. Would I be embarrassed if my employer read them? Maybe. Probably not.
Would you be embarrassed if your employer read any of the personal e-mails you sent from your laptop or BlackBerry? Do you think electronic devices are making it too easy for our employers to spy on us?