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Report: A third of large firms monitor e-mail
Published: 2006-06-05

Forget about the NSA--Corporate America is reading employee e-mail with more regularity, according to messaging security firm Proofpoint.

In an annual study of messaging security published on Monday with Forrester Consulting, the company found that 38 percent of companies that have more than 1,000 employees have hired staff to read or analyze the content of outgoing e-mail. The company did not break down the percentage of companies that actually read employees' message as opposed to monitoring traffic for suspicious keywords, but did say that nearly 47 percent of companies perform regular audits of e-mail content.

Almost a third of companies have fired an employee for a violation of e-mail policy in the past year, while more than a half had employees that were disciplined due to a violation during that same time. A quarter of the companies were ordered to turn over e-mail messages by a court or regulatory body in the last year, the survey found.

The results of the survey comes as wiretapping and Internet surveillance are much on the minds of Americans. Following reports in the New York Times that the NSA had wiretapped Americans, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed separate lawsuits only to have the U.S. government declared that the information at the heart of the cases comprised national secrets. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has declined to investigate, despite allegations that three major telecommunications firms furnished the NSA with the complete call records of U.S. citizens.

The Proofpoint survey found that more than half of companies are worried about Web-based e-mail as a conduit for leaks of private data and intellectual property.

Posted by: Robert Lemos
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