% fortune -ae paul murphy

For your safety and convenience

Or, rather more truthfully: "We tape all calls: to protect ourselves, discipline our employees, provide marketing data, and just because we can."

It's not just calls, of course, that get this treatment: more and more employers have people who're sufficiently net savvy to check your on-line history before even talking to you. Ask yourself, for example, how likely a PC "journalist" whose email postings are peppered with references to stupid mactards and other juvenalia is to achieve credibility with potential employers searching for promotable professionals.

The genie isn't just out of the bottle on this - the Obama Whitehouse has smashed the bottle: just in the last two months they've been caught using public funds to make an enemies list, reacted by morphing it into a public policy snitch program and have now issued now a major contract RFQ on data mining public sites like twitter and facebook along with Whitehouse and other Democrat site web traffic and email to identify policy opponents.

So what's the bottom line? Pretty much what it's always been with respect to private opinion and the press: if you might later be embarrassed, fired, or just harassed, if something you say or write becomes public, don't say or write it.

More specifically, if you use a public network resource like a social site, discussion group, or somebody's free email account: keep your words clean and professional because it's not your safety and convenience potential employers reviewing this stuff are looking to protect or advance -and it's not just employers and corrupt politicians either: next time you offend somebody or just get caught as collateral damage in somebody else's courtroom drama, you can bet that the other guy's lawyers are going to be reviewing what you've said and how you said it.

Paul Murphy wrote and published The Unix Guide to Defenestration. Murphy is a 25-year veteran of the I.T. consulting industry, specializing in Unix and Unix-related management issues.