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Jewish World Review July 19, 2001 / 28 Tamuz, 5761

Barry Rabin

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Consumer Reports

Spy On The Boss With BossWare! -- IS your employer spying on you right now?

He, she or it (as the case may be) probably is, according to recent news reports about widespread use of those new computer software products designed to snoop at workers’ email, track their non-work-related Web surfing and keep up on all of those other non-corporate activities you do to have fun during the workday.

In fact, a recent survey by the American Management Association, cited in a article, found that 54 percent of companies said they monitored their employees' Internet connections, while 38 percent said they reviewed worker e-mail messages.

These spy programs, with names like "Cyber-Watch" and "Worker-Ware," are already in widespread use by companies like yours. Their mission: To catch you sending personal emails, surfing porn sites and just generally goofing off.

What the ads for these products don’t tell you, however, is that while you’re busy wasting company time doing these things (and I’ve been watching you, so I know you are!), your boss is keeping very busy with important company matters.

Matters, that is, like sending personal emails, surfing porn sites and just generally goofing off.

I’ve finally come up with the solution to this growing national privacy crisis.

I call it "BossWare."

With BossWare, you and your co-workers can turn the tables on everyone from your immediate supervisor (that officious, pompous lout, or lout-ess, as the case may be) all the way up to the C.E.O. and executive committee of your big, rich, top-heavy employer.

Just confronted with your recent (but judiciously short) visit to that "XXX Luscious, Lascivious Teenage Nymphs!!!" site? No problem! Just ask your boss (right after he’s finished berating you for your little excursion ) how he enjoyed the "Young Naked Boys At Play!!!" site he visited last week ("So, Bob, does your wife know you like boys?" you’ll ask casually, trying to hold back a smirk).

Just reprimanded for spending a mere ten minutes of oh-so-precious company time checking out the latest Pearl Jam release? It won’t seem like such a big deal after you’ve pointed out that the Big Kahuna himself spent an hour last week spec-ing out his new Mercedes-Benz Z-Class roadster (and right after that "Buy American!" speech, too). Naughty-naughty!

And there will be more fun uses for BossWare.

When your company sends out a memo announcing that earnings have been "disappointing" this year, thus necessitating austerity moves like moving the Christmas party from that hot French restaurant to the Chucky Cheese Pizza Parlor, and switching from Starbucks coffee in the employee lounge to supermarket-brand instant, you can just casually mention how surprised you are since "I could have sworn I saw an online purchase order go out for $250,000 worth of Italian leather furniture for the Executive Conference Room…"

And to counteract the ultimate in employer insults, the dreaded Pink Slip (and without a cushy severance package, either!), BossWare will be able to tell you which AOL chat-room your boss has been hanging out in during working hours.

BossWare. At $49.99 a shot, it would be a sure seller.

If only I could write computer code...

JWR contributor Barry Rabin is a lawyer and humor writer (REALLY!). Comment by clicking here.


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05/18/01 Let Ballplayers Pay To Watch ME Work!
05/03/01 At last, a discount Ivy League college!
04/27/01 The next depression could be great!

© 2001, Barry Rabin