Editor's Page

Dec. 21, 2004
There's nothing useful about corporate computer usage policies.

Hello! This is your new company computer. To ensure that you do not use it in any way that is actually useful, please read the company's new Computer and E-mail Policy. While even we in the legal department recognize that this document is overreaching, intrusive, and completely clueless as to how you and your fellow employees use computers, we are nonetheless confident that you will sign it. Why? Because we'll fire you if you don't. And if you do sign it, we'll have even more reason to fire you -- for ignoring the rules. Keep in mind the following: Ownership: The company owns all computers. We also own all thoughts about computers and any thoughts that you may or may not put on e-mail. In fact, if you have a thought, and it could conceivably be put on e-mail, we now own it, whether or not it is ever put on e-mail or on your computer. No Private Use: We recognize that in today's hypercompetitive business climate many of our employees are working longer and longer hours, both at the office and at home, often on evenings or weekends. We further recognize that many employees -- increasingly stressed by lack of family and personal time -- will be tempted to employ their computers for personal use, including online shopping or balancing their checkbooks. This is why the company is prohibiting all personal use of your computer. Personal lives only cause chaos and confusion, detracting from your ability to focus on productive work. By limiting use of your computer to work topics, even at home, even on your own time, even if such use would cause the company no trouble, we will ensure that you have less of a personal or family life to interfere with work in the first place. Offensive Materials: You may not cause offense. You may not surf Web sites that may cause offense. You may not receive unsolicited e-mails that may cause offense. In fact, pursuant to the ownership policy above, you may not think offensive thoughts, or even have contact with people who may possibly cause offense. What is offensive? Pornography, of course, as well as offensive jokes. Yet even personal political opinions -- should they disagree with those of the company -- may be offensive. After careful consideration, then, the company has decided that only it can determine what offense is. We will do so according to prevailing community standards, reasonable standards of jurisprudence, and, most importantly, our corporate need for downsizing you and your fellow employees. Adaptability of Computer and E-mail Policy: This policy is subject to change any time we feel like it, with or without notice. This means that even if you should somehow manage to conform to this policy, we have the right to change it so that you do not conform. After all, what good is an overreaching, intrusive, and completely clueless policy if we can't use it to fire you? Send e-mail messages to John Brandt at [email protected]

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