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FS08

join:2012-12-07

Can an ISP Employee Spy on Me at Will?

I have AT&T as my ISP. My question is this: Can any employee monitor my internet activity at his will? Or is this only limited to administrators and such?


HA Nut
Premium
join:2004-05-13
USA

2 recommendations

I believe you should assume that any employee could given either direct permission, specific desire to do so on you or just interest in general snooping on anyone. Even if they are prevented from doing so, policies are broken everyday and hacking goes on all the time.

To me the question is when will they monitor, not can they...


Hank
Searching for a new Frontier
Premium
join:2002-05-21
Burlington, WV
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

1 edit

1 recommendation

Ha Nut is correct. In fact some companies and organizations require that you sign an agreement permitting them to do so or you don't work at their place.

I almost forgot that when Frontier changed to Yahoo to provide email service the new TOS states they have the right to monitor your emails. I don't know if that has changed in recent weeks.

garys_2k
Premium
join:2004-05-07
Farmington, MI
Reviews:
·Callcentric

2 recommendations

reply to FS08
said by FS08:

I have AT&T as my ISP. My question is this: Can any employee monitor my internet activity at his will? Or is this only limited to administrators and such?

I assume you don't work for AT&T, they're only your ISP for your home or business, correct?

Well, it's less than unlikely that ANY employee could snoop on traffic crossing its borders, that would imply that the secretaries, truck drivers, floor cleaners, etc. could do so. But could a network admin. do it, sure. Could a bad network admin. invite a janitor to look over her shoulder while your traffic is going by? Sure.

That's why you want to use https encryption for as much traffic as you can. The ISP just sees gibberish going to and from your IP while using an encrypted connection. If you're really worried you can connect through a VPN so that just about all of your traffic is encrypted, but of course then you'd have to trust the VPN admins...


StuartMW
Who Is John Galt?
Premium
join:2000-08-06
Galt's Gulch
kudos:2

3 recommendations

reply to FS08
IMO you should not trust a modem/router provider by an ISP either. Have your own router/firewall (that you control and they can't) between theirs and your LAN.
--
Don't feed trolls--it only makes them grow!


Blackbird
Built for Speed
Premium
join:2005-01-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..

2 recommendations

reply to FS08
The question you really should ask yourself is: "Am I putting something out into a carrier-provided communications channel (phone, internet, mail, etc) that I absolutely don't want revealed to anybody other than whom it's intended for?" If so, it's your own responsibility to protect it from prying eyes (meaning encryption of some kind), or else use a better form of communication (if one exists). With communications mediums where other people have access to any points in the chain of transmission of information, leakage will at times occur, and it's unpredictable where or how for any given message.

Some of what most folks would "like" to remain private is just a "want", not a necessity. No lasting harm is likely to follow from the interception of your shirt size, a photo of the scenery in Puerto Vallarta, and so on... so common sense has to apply in that regard. But if true harm could result from the unwanted revelation of something you need to communicate, be smart and either encrypt it or else find some direct way of passing the message.
--
“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.” A. de Tocqueville

FS08

join:2012-12-07
reply to FS08
Thanks to everyone for the information.

To garys_2k: Yes, I do not work for AT&T.

But wouldn't the ISP be able to see your surfing even if you are in a VPN? I know there are some types of encryption steps that you can take to prevent even your ISP from knowing your internet activity. But I think just any VPN will not do.

It seems to me that some people can see my surfing even when I use an encrypted VPN network.


Dude111
An Awesome Dude
Premium
join:2003-08-04
USA
kudos:12

 

They shouldnt be able to if its 100% encrypted (Even your isp) thats why a VPN is so good....

HELLFIRE
Premium
join:2009-11-25
kudos:18
reply to FS08

Re: Can an ISP Employee Spy on Me at Will?

said by FS08:

But wouldn't the ISP be able to see your surfing even if you are in a VPN?

said by Blackbird:

The question you really should ask yourself is: "Am I putting something out into a carrier-provided communications channel (phone, internet, mail, etc) that I absolutely don't want revealed to anybody other than whom it's intended for?"

Second Blackbird's response in regards to your question about VPN.

YES the ISP could tell you SOMEthing passed on the wire, whether they could make heads or tails of it depends WHEN
and WHERE they captured it, and whether it was in a readable format of some sort.

Regards

nonymous
Premium
join:2003-09-08
Glendale, AZ

1 recommendation

reply to FS08
If I do banking I want it encrypted. Still know I bank with so and so. Email encrypt it if not want read. If not then no banking stuff financial etc. Girlfriend stuff she may let out anyways when you dont leave the wife or upset her.

Anything else I always treat as a postcard. Most guys look at some porn so I may be normal. Most people search a little on politics even overseas stuff so normal.
Heck we even have red and blue rooms her that get fun at times.
If you are trying to hide dirty little secrets or really illegal stuff like child porn etc. Do not use the net.

Heck i worked at a telco. Had no time to listen in. Maybe get a few seconds here and there throwing my butset on lines for a quick see if work and turned out to be active,
Longest odd conversations i got where when i was in people house waiting for them to get off the line so I could fix it. Knew I was in the room. knew I heard them talking and heck either phone loud enough or they had it on speaker phone so i heard the other side.
Or the guy that had porn pictures on his walls. Porn sites on sticky notes on his probably sticky computer complaining his dsl was hijacked as received bills on his credit card he didnt authorize from well you can guess he places.

Unless you are out of the ordinary or a celebratory/ famous/politician no one cares. Plus if paid decently not going to risk their jobs for the chance to see nothing.

Just be normal. SSL banking or equivalent as always. Encrypt email , IM etc or treat as postcard. Know your girlfriend may burn you to the wife long before an ISP employee.
Do not make the habit of visiting terrorist websites as government will get you long before a snooping employee. Plus if you are a terrorist you would have your own secret ways anyways.
At your work our monitoring software tells us you are being bad. You are hitting very odd sites or doing bad things. Or circumventing our blocks. then our management cares. So we of course turn it over to them. Then laugh another odd person bit the dust. We dint search all your email if email is allowed or totally listened in on all traffic. Our software said hitting bad sites or breaking the rules.
Maybe its because i worked in the field so long and saw stuff from odd to insane to sick to normal and good in person looking at your web connection would be boring.

Just encrypt all financial stuff and online transactions. Email Im and personal secret stuff encrypt or treat as postcard.
Dont treat facebook as secret. Heck my wife uses facebook and doesnt over share so can you.
The majority of us dont care. A few do but banking is encrypted or should be so no risk and email should be a postcard or encrypted if really care. Plus get fired if found out and well getting the next job things get around.

nonymous
Premium
join:2003-09-08
Glendale, AZ
reply to FS08
Or a few rogue employees do not have the means o monitor all of att including cell data. Plus still need to be authorized to do so plus at my last company even they were tracked at times at what they monitored.
The lower level call center if you call in for a repair all they do is see your modems web page and signal levels and s/n ratio etc. They do not care about the data stream plus doubt they can access it.

garys_2k
Premium
join:2004-05-07
Farmington, MI
Reviews:
·Callcentric
reply to FS08
said by FS08:

Thanks to everyone for the information.

To garys_2k: Yes, I do not work for AT&T.

But wouldn't the ISP be able to see your surfing even if you are in a VPN? I know there are some types of encryption steps that you can take to prevent even your ISP from knowing your internet activity. But I think just any VPN will not do.

It seems to me that some people can see my surfing even when I use an encrypted VPN network.

If you use a VPN then the only thing the ISP can see is that some gibberish is going back and forth between your IP and the IP that corresponds to the VPN site. They cannot see the actual contents of that traffic or where you're connected to via the VPN. In other words, they'll know you are communicating via a VPN but won't know to whom you're using the VPN to get to, or what traffic you're creating back and forth to that server.

07108968

join:2012-12-11
North Coast
reply to FS08
If person is THAT paranoid, they should never connect to Internet, or have cable TV for that matter.

garys_2k
Premium
join:2004-05-07
Farmington, MI
Reviews:
·Callcentric
said by 07108968:

If person is THAT paranoid, they should never connect to Internet, or have cable TV for that matter.

Well, there are legit. reasons. Business secrets, political issues in other countries, that sort of thing. Even a person involved in an abusive relationship, where their spouse works for their ISP, should use a VPN (but then that abusive spouse would still know that their house's IP was connected to a known-VPN site's IP, so abuse would likely follow).


Blackbird
Built for Speed
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join:2005-01-14
Fort Wayne, IN
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Reviews:
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said by garys_2k:

said by 07108968:

If person is THAT paranoid, they should never connect to Internet, or have cable TV for that matter.

... political issues in other countries, that sort of thing. ... (but then ... would still know that their house's IP was connected to a known-VPN site's IP ...

Especially that. Connect to a known VPN or anonymizer proxy IP in several countries, and you may at least "go on a list". And if the person's already on other "lists", it may qualify them for a 4am visit from the door-kickers. Though that's apparently not the risk here...
--
“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.” A. de Tocqueville


StuartMW
Who Is John Galt?
Premium
join:2000-08-06
Galt's Gulch
kudos:2
said by Blackbird:

And if the person's already on other "lists", it may qualify them for a 4am visit from the door-kickers.

Well they'll visit you in a windowless grey van first and sit outside with monitoring equipment for awhile. The next step is to put you under active surveillance. The third step is to kick down the door at 4am.

Of course you might not notice steps one and two
--
Don't feed trolls--it only makes them grow!


Blackbird
Built for Speed
Premium
join:2005-01-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:3
Reviews:
·Frontier Communi..
said by StuartMW:

said by Blackbird:

And if the person's already on other "lists", it may qualify them for a 4am visit from the door-kickers.

Well they'll visit you in a windowless grey van first and sit outside with monitoring equipment for awhile. The next step is to put you under active surveillance. The third step is to kick down the door at 4am.

Of course you might not notice steps one and two

In certain Mideastern and Asian countries, the use of VPN's and anonymizing proxies is often what persons resort to if they've observed something going on akin to your first two steps (or other steps like them)... and it's that popping-up of anonymous communications IPs that finally ices them. It's happened just that way to more than one of them, which is why advice about how to make use of anonymizers or VPNs needs to be given with a caveat.
--
“The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.” A. de Tocqueville


StuartMW
Who Is John Galt?
Premium
join:2000-08-06
Galt's Gulch
kudos:2
said by Blackbird:

In certain Mideastern and Asian countries...

True enough. And in many of those same countries saying the wrong thing to the wrong person/people will result in similar treatment, The US is not to that point--yet.
--
Don't feed trolls--it only makes them grow!


Dude111
An Awesome Dude
Premium
join:2003-08-04
USA
kudos:12

 

Im afraid it is Stu!!!

Say the wrong thing OUT OF SPITE to the wrong person and see what "freedom of speech" really has come to here!
Expand your moderator at work


angussf
Premium
join:2002-01-11
Tucson, AZ
kudos:4
reply to FS08

Re: Can an ISP Employee Spy on Me at Will?

Excellent column on privacy by of all people John C. Dvorak last week:
On Privacy: It's Not What I'm Hiding (Or Not Hiding) That Matters | PCMag.com
»www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2412961,00.asp
Just because you aren't doing something wrong doesn't mean you shouldn't protect your privacy rights.

By John C. Dvorak // December 6, 2012
I see that Eric Schmidt is back in the news with an erroneous assertion that if you've got nothing to hide, you should not worry about your privacy.

I'm always stunned when a billionaire with a private life goes on about how trivial privacy is. And he is not the only one. I often hear people say, "if you are not doing anything wrong, then what's the fear?" Scott McNealy famously said, "Privacy is dead. Get over it."

All these folks miss the point time and time again. Privacy is not about just you and me. It in itself is a milieu—one that needs nurturing, not a lax attitude.

Privacy is not important because I do or do not have something to hide. I would argue that lack of privacy regulations, whether by rule or agreement, creates total societal corruption. A Soviet-style state. Orwellian, like 1984.

...
--
Angus S-F
GeoApps, Tucson, Arizona, USA
»geoapps.com/
»www.linkedin.com/in/angussf
»geoapps.blogspot.com/

Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
reply to FS08
a VPN cannot be accessed so that is safe. You can think of the VPN like a truck with a locked trailer. People know a truck went by but have no way to know what it carried. The normal internet is more like a flat bed trailer on the semi, Everybody on the freeway can see the cargo if they turn and look.

And without that VPN or HTTPS never consider any form of wireless link to even be remotely safe. Funny thing about the airwaves is "once its beamed its for me" Or in short any body in range can pick up the signal, And it is pretty much impossible to know if someone receives a signal that was sent broadly.(I am sure letter agencies can though.) Back in early 1990s my middle school had a radio lab, We used to listen to things from the bus CB radio network(which I think was actually licensed on its on freqency) to analog cell phones on the scanner equipment. we would hit scan and see what we got when it stopped.
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[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports