AUNTY AG UNCLE ONY ; Scared That Your Boss Will Read Your E-Mails? or That You're Uglier in the Flesh Than in Cyberspace? Never Mind, Aunty Ag and Uncle Ony Are Up with All the New Technology - They Can Help
I saw a really scary TV programme last week about how bosses can keep track of your e-mails and check on what you've been writing. I'm really worried now because I send lots to friends, just catching up and making arrangements to meet. There's nothing really awful in there, just gossip, but I'd feel silly if anyone else were to read them. What do you advise?
Emma, via e-mail
Aunty Ag: Unless bosses are particularly mean and inhuman, the kinds of things they want to catch aren't you arranging to meet your friends at All Bar One. It's things like passing on Top Secret Confidential Business Information or setting up your own mail-order catalogue flogging the contents of the stationery cupboard. However, to deflect attention, I suggest that you head all your legitimate e- mails things like Top Secret Confidential Business Information etc. If anyone is monitoring you, they will spend all their time checking out these juicily-titled messages and (hopefully) ignore the others.
Uncle Ony: If you are sending these messages in your boss's time, using your boss's computer, then it seems to me that he is quite within his rights to feel that they are his property. What you are doing is stealing; perhaps not in the same way as if you put an office Biro in your bag, but stealing time - a kind of spiritual stealing if you will. So stop it, and you will have nothing to worry about.
I am a frequenter of a certain internet chat-room and I have fallen rather heavily for one of the people I have been talking to there. Now they have suggested that we meet in person. I am feeling a bit nervous, mainly because I have somewhat enhanced my own attributes and worry that they will be disappointed, because I'm not very groovy or feline. I do want to meet them, but how can I prepare them for the inevitable letdown?
Groovy Moon Cat, via e-mail
Aunty Ag: Haven't you noticed that everyone, but everyone, on the internet is a rippling-haired sex goddess or a rippling-muscled sex god? Enhancing one's attributes, as you sweetly put it, is pretty much obligatory. Don't worry, your chat chum will have been doing exactly the same thing, so don't be surprised if you feel pretty disillusioned yourself at their non-virtual manifestation. …