Spy vs. Spy: New Tools Offer New Ways to Obtain Employees’ “Private” Data

An employer’s right to monitor employees’ electronic communications is a very popular topic.  There are numerous questions in this area of the law that remain unanswered.  For example, can an employer can lawfully retrieve an ex-employee’s personal e-mails sent and received from the company’s computers?  The 9th Circuit took a shot at another big question earlier this year in Quon v. Archer, when it held that an employee’s text messages were personal and could not be viewed by the employer–even though the pager used to send and receive the text messages was the employer’s property.  Employees’ text messages can result in significant consequences for their employment–just ask the former mayor of Detroit. 

What seems to get many employees into trouble is their misconceptions about the security of their electronic data.  It seems that many workers don’t believe that their employers could access electronic mail and messages, even if the employer was inclined to do so.  Well, that is just plain wrong.  Electronic data can be retrieved.  And it’s a lot easier than you may think.  A new product on the market, Sim Card Spy Elite by Brickhouse Security, is a compelling example of this fact. image

The Sim Card Spy Elite is a recovery device that can retrieve “deleted” data from a SIM card.**  Just pop the SIM card out of a cell phone and insert it into the Spy Elite.  Then insert the Spy Elite into your computer and, Voila!  All of the data that you thought had been deleted from the cellphone is instantly restored.  Names, text messages, and last-dialed numbers are given new life.  The data can be viewed, printed, and even edited–all for the low price of $199.95.   

As technology continues to improve, powerful tools like this are going to become easier and easier for the masses to obtain.  No longer are these items accessible only to security insiders.  Not only should employees be wary of the potential use of these tools by their employers but, as the Larry Mendte saga made evident, employers must also be cognizant of the possible use of spy devices by employees as tools for coworker sabotage and espionage.  It’s not as fictional as it may sound.  Just ask Alycia Lane.

**A SIM card is a tiny circuit board for cell phones that contains the user’s account information. SIM cards are interchangeable between phones, allowing users to program a new phone by just switching the SIM card.

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