Ask the Expert

E-mail message privacy concerns

Is it possible for a network administrator to view my e-mail messages (without my permission) if I am logged in myself and they remote into my PC for problems?

    Requires Free Membership to View

Based on the question I think that you might prefer to hear me say "unequivocally no." However, there is more at play here than whether or not you gave them permissions or even if they were able to remote into your machine with full administrator rights.

In order for anyone to access mail in your mailbox on an Exchange server, they would essentially have to be logged on as you or with an account that has the same permissions to your mail as you do. But someone other than you could grant the necessary permissions. For Exchange 2000 and 2003, an Exchange administrator could create an administrative account that has permissions to all mailboxes on an Exchange server (see KB268754 and KB262054 at http://support.microsoft.com). Once logged on as that account, they could access all mailboxes in the organization from their own machine. If your mailbox resides on an Exchange 5.5 server, then there is an account by default that has rights to every mailbox and that account is called the Exchange Service Account.

What it boils down to is the privacy policy in your company. Many corporations, government agencies, internet service providers and educational institutes have very different views and policies on the privacy of e-mail. These policies should dictate what administrators can and cannot do when they are administering your machine. In my own experience as an Exchange administrator, even when there is not a formal policy, I have always asked for consent from legal services prior to responding to any request to gather or view mail for a particular user. I hope that your administrators would be as scrupulous.

This was first published in September 2004

There are Comments. Add yours.

 
TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to: