How likely is it that work is snooping on my blackberry?
February 27, 2010 3:34 PM   Subscribe

How worried should I be about work tracking my web surfing habits on my work-issued blackberry?

I use a work-issued blackberry. I work at a large employer (400+ blackberries) and, from what I understand, work uses the blackberry enterprise software (though I'm not totally clear on what that means). We have AT&T as our provider. I surf a lot on the blackberry, and sometime surf to stuff that probably I wouldn't want my employer to see. Usually, when I am doing this, I am surfing on private WiFi, but I suspect that this does not matter as I think that the web requests still go through the blackbery/work server. (This might be different if I used Opera? But I use the regular blackberry browser.)

What I want to understand is, from the work IT department point of view, how easy/hard is it to track my web usage? And I don't mean theoretically -- I accept that it is theoretically possible to track anything. I mean, from a very practical nuts-and-bolts perspective, how likely is it that an employer would analyze logs of individual blackberry surfing down to the specific pages/domains surfed? I am especially interested in the views of people who have worked in corporate IT. You can assume that work has no special reason to monitor me and that I am not crazy enough to surf things that have obviously NSFW URLs. I'm talking more like naughty stuff on general purpose sites like YouTube. Thanks.
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I work in Corporate IT. With that many blackberries, we would be looking at specific users randomly, and then at users with high usage. Or people who visit the same site 100x a day. So if your drawing the most bandwidth, we might be looking at what you're doing. But then it's also possible that your IT guys don't even care what nsfwish things you find. Depends on who catches you.
posted by lakerk at 3:44 PM on February 27, 2010

Ignoring what they can do, cannot do, and actually do, if you wouldn't do something on the computer sitting in your office, I would refrain from doing it on any other piece of company-issued hardware.

(Ahead of time: It's not an issue of what you should be allowed to do, just a pragmatic approach to not giving dishonest, unscrupulous people more ammunition in the event they want to fire you or just need someone to take the fall for something unrelated.)
posted by secret about box at 3:46 PM on February 27, 2010

Also, what lakerk said. They certainly don't have some poor kid poring over your logs every day unless you're responsible for huge amounts of traffic. But they might be logging activity, and that's cheap to store for long periods of time. Future database queries are cheap, too.
posted by secret about box at 3:52 PM on February 27, 2010

(Formerly in Corporate IT)

that's cheap to store for long periods of time

Most large companies have Data Retention Policies in place that mandate destroying data more than a few years old, mainly to reduce liability from things like this.

Unless you're regularly surfing porn, I wouldn't worry about it.
posted by mkultra at 4:41 PM on February 27, 2010

If you change your browser from the one that is proxied via the BES to the one that goes direct to the Internet, be sure to go to to double check which path you are on. Try it now to see what I mean- the BES one will look like you are surfing from yoru corp domain while the non-BES one will show your cell carrier's IP.

Most blackberries have at least two browsers (sometimes as many as four) and you have to figure out which one is using BIS and which one is using BES.

All that being said, you should always assume that anything you do can possibly be tracked back to you if someone is determined enough.
posted by crazyray at 8:09 PM on March 14, 2010

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