The University Record, September 28, 1992

ITD squelches mail monitoring

Douglas E. Van Houweling, vice provost for information technology, distributed a lengthy message to all users of the U-M MTS system last week describing unauthorized monitoring of electronic mail by two Information Technology Division (ITD) employees.

“Neither the subject nor the content of electronic mail conveyed by the MTS Message System or the Confer II message system were compromised,” said Van Houweling in his message. “Two ITD staff members did monitor the file names certain individuals accessed. Furthermore, they also may have captured the MTS userIDs of those with whom the targeted individuals were corresponding via e-mail.”

The employees involved were monitoring one another’s electronic mail transmissions for personal reasons. U-M employees outside ITD who had electronic mail communications with the two staff members involved have already been notified by ITD administrators.

While unauthorized monitoring is considered a serious breach of ethics, violates important rules of privacy and wastes University computing resources, monitoring was limited to the transmissions of the two employees involved. The incident is basically an internal personnel matter within ITD, according to ITD administrators.

The message was sent to advise the U-M community how seriously ITD takes this abuse of trust and that steps have been taken to correct the situation.