RIM Records Employee Phone Calls To Protect Themselves…. Lovely….

Communist Russia Resarch In Motion made a stunning (to me at least) admission today. Apparently, the maker of the BlackBerry admits to recording the phone calls of their employees as a means to protect their intellectual property. RIM Chief Information Officer Robin Bienfait is quoted as saying;

Everything I have that’s on RIM is recorded and retained as RIM. So if they want to have a chat with somebody and it’s not a chat that’s within RIM’s domain, then they may want their own personal device,” she said.

When asked exactly whether it was conversations, rather than just written information she kept tabs on, Bienfait answered: “Everything. I record everything.”

As for that thing called privacy, well….

It wasn’t a violation of privacy, according to Bienfait, who maintained the workers were aware of the surveillance: “They’re doing business inside of RIM. Everything they can say or do can be patented…We’re not violating anybody’s privacy. They’re aware that their information is transparent and in visibility.”

The fact is that if you work for someone else, you should have no reasonable expectation of privacy.

Having said that, I once worked for a now defunct catalog computer reseller that snooped on employee e-mails and phone calls openly. If an employee said anything that they didn’t like, they would fire the employee. The funny thing is that even though the place had a high turnover rate (The average stay was six months. I lasted nine before I told them to take their job and shove it where the sun don’t shine quit), the majority of turnover was because people getting sick of “big brother” rather than being caught saying or typing something wrong. Which in turn made it difficult to operate the business. The company suffered as a result.

Now I understand the need to protect their IP, but I think this is a bit over the top, and RIM may live to regret this decision. Besides, one would think that if a RIM employee really wanted to rip them off, they’d do it on a non-company device. After all, that would be the logical thing to do…. Right?

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