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UK workers succumb to email paranoia

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UK workers are becoming increasingly paranoid about who exactly is reading their e-mail and also accidentally forwarding personal mails.

Findings from a survey of office workers by Yahoo! Mail showed that close to half believe that their colleagues are sifting through their in-boxes for scandalous details, while nearly a third are concerned about e-mails with private and/or embarrassing content finding their way into the wrong hands.

According to the survey of 18,000 adults with access to e-mail at work, just over 60 per cent think that the IT department reads their personal mail in secret. In addition, 45 percent are fearful that colleagues are rummaging through their personal e-mails while they are out of the office or away from their desks.

Women seem to be more distrustful then men, with 49 per cent of females compared to 42 per cent of males believing that the people they work with are dishonest enough to secretly look through their in-boxes.

Personal e-mails becoming common knowledge is also a major concern of many office workers. Nearly 30 per cent said they could see themselves sending a personal e-mail to a fellow worker by mistake, while almost one-third thought that sending such e-mails at work could lead to someone they trust forwarding on personal or intimate details to others in the workplace.

This is, of course, what happened in the new infamous case of Claire Swire whose boyfriend reportedly sent on a personal e-mail of an intimate sexual nature from her to his friends who then circulated it to their friends. Within days, the e-mail was arriving in in-boxes around the world and the story got massive media coverage.

Over a quarter of employees are also concerned that they could send on a personal mail to their boss by accident. This is more of worry with women than it is with men.

According to Yahoo! Mail's Head Producer, Alick Mighall, the results show that e-mail paranoia appears to be "spreading like wildfire...More and more workers are looking over their shoulders whilst at the computer. Shoulder surfing and e-mail snooping are a part of every day office life and workers need to adapt in order to survive in this office jungle," said Mighall.

Unsurprisingly, Yahoo! recommends people to refrain from using their work e-mail for personal mails, but should used a Web-based mailing system instead.
Messages with sensitive content should be deleted once sent, and people should log-off their PCs when leaving their desks.

Yahoo! also advises you to attach a mirror to your computer monitor. This acts in the same way as a car rear-view mirror and will help you to stop people sneakily viewing what you're reading on-line. © ENN

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