I realized that there are so many things in the IT industry that are intentionally left in gray areas. That includes list of clients, systems infrastructure, softwares, and other technologies. That\’s not new. Everyone who have taken economics 101 should know that trade secrets are very important to have an edge to competitors and protect the company from prying eyes. It\’s also discussed in professional ethics. However, having just exposed myself to the real working environment, I just realized how serious IT companies are in hiding secrets. I\’m talking about IT companies in the Philippines in general but this should apply to all companies.

One thing that strikes me is the 10 things that companies should be monitoring in the web as suggested by Pronet Advertising. What disturbs me are #6, #7 and #8 in the list. Others are pretty obvious. This should be a warning to all employees out there who leak information about their company\’s secrets carelessly.

Pronet mentioned about the industry \”hang outs\” which includes blogs, message boards and review sites. Be aware that popular message boards like pinoyexchange.com, tipidpc.com and MMORPG forums are most probably included in A-list of industry hang-outs in the Philippines.

Employee blogs are probably monitored by employers as well. If you are not aware, some people are sued because of what they type in their blogs. Scary? Not really. Just be sure to double check that all your statements are not libelous. If you want to be extra careful, do not even mention anything work-related in your blog at all especially if it is too sensitive to be published in web, let alone in your personal blog. IMHO, these things are better left in your conventional [paper] diary, not blog.

Social network is both a blessing and a curse. For instance, any member of friendster.com and myspace.com could easily search members of the entire social network. Companies can easily track your profile and conversations with other people. When you leave comments to other people\’s blog you sometime leave a link to your personal blog. That\’s aweful if the company can aggregate these information and found out that you are leaking out company secrets that are not meant to be revealed. Call me paranoid but these are all possible.

If there\’s anything you can do to totally conceal your identity in the internet, then do not create a personal blog to hide yourself in the obscurity. Do not reveal your name easily. Do not give out personal information in the public. Plain and simple. I can continue discussing the probability that some companies are monitoring their employees\’ activities but there are so many things you can do in the internet that these companies are probably not aware of your activities yet. However, they may find out your blunder in the end and you might lose your job.

You can argue that these are all invasion of privacy. However, the moment you use the internet, privacy becomes a gray matter as well. To avoid any repercussions, be discreet and professional in the web. Know your limitation and use your knowledge wisely.

  • Great post.

    Instead of trying to remain anonymous on the web I would just suggest thinking twice about saying something that could potentially be frowned upon. Once it’s on the web it’s pretty much like writing it in stone. Just be smart and you’ll never have anything to worry about. If you are doing shady things then it probably is best to remain anonymous.

    I think a lot of people got the wrong idea when I mentioned monitoring your employees. I don’t think it’s ethical to monitor all your employees actions online, only if those actions are related to your company. Employees should be free to do what they want in their own free time, and shouldn’t be held accountable for it. However, once your business gets involved, well then, it becomes your business (pun intended).

    Does that make sense?

  • MV

    Thanks :) I think your suggestion really makes sense. Even the extended list written by other people in response to 10 things that companies should be monitoring are true. Companies should monitor what involves the name of the company and their related products and services. It becomes the company’s business because the image of the company is reflected by what other people talk and write about.

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