Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Perhaps, I am being too pessimistic when I ask this question and also I do not know if this question fits appropriately into this forum (if not please redirect to appropriate one).

So here is my question (sort of a problem). I recently began a job at a big company (one of the largest in the country). As a part of the benefits from the company, I was given a laptop (Windows 7), primarily for work purposes (not as a signing bonus), with customized softwares installed. I fear (more than fear, I am quite sure) that whatever personal stuff (other than the work of course!) I do on the machine is being spied. My privileges in the operating system is not the same as the administrator. I have tried to check for nefarious softwares, but I can't find any (probably because of lack of privileges).

I would be glad to learn about the options for me to detect whether I am being spied (in terms of available softwares) and if there is a possibility to avoid it?

P.S. I have followed similar threads here and here, but I guess my case is different.

EDIT 1: Probably my meaning of spying was not too clear in my question. When I say I fear of spying, I mean what I do on a social network or what/where/how do I make my bank transactions. I know that all my requests pass through the proxy, so I know from an administrator point of view what pages were browsed by me. What worries me is the spying on information concerning the things what I do on these networks. This is creepy and by all means it is my personal data.

EDIT 2: Well, Thank you for the answers/comments. Indeed I think this is a complicated issue. I am not familiar with the laws, but accessing private information should be criminal. I just have an analogy to support this. Imagine you stay in an appartment given to you by your company. Does this mean they are entitled to spy your private life to protect their appartment?

share|improve this question

closed as too localized by Xavierjazz, TFM, Nifle, Dave M, KronoS Feb 27 '13 at 21:52

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Ask the network administrators if they "spy" on laptop activity? – Paul Feb 27 '13 at 13:24
I assume you are allowed to use this laptop for personal use? I was once issued a laptop filled with company-approved spyware, but apparently they were in their right according to the terms of use I signed when I received it. – Silver Quettier Feb 27 '13 at 13:24
If you don't plan on using it for personal reasons what do you have to fear? Its within the rights of the company to protect everything on their equipment that you work on. There really isn't a fool proof way of verifying something like this. – Ramhound Feb 27 '13 at 13:43
You might clarify whether the laptop was "given" as a sort of a signing bonus, or whether it was issued to you for your duties. If it's for your duties, then the company owns it, and NOTHING you do on it can be assumed to be private. In this case, assume they're logging everything, and adjust your behaviour accordingly. Do nothing on it you do not want the company to know. – Jonathan Garber Feb 27 '13 at 14:56
In many jurisdictions, company hardware and infrastructure isn't necessarily fair game to the company itself. The extent to which an employee's privacy must be respected is often a hugely complicated subject. Of course, the safest thing to do is assume spyware is present, but mere ownership does not imply entitlement to spy. – Marcks Thomas Feb 27 '13 at 16:12

You should search your company employee guide/manual. Most of them for any larger companies, like the one I work for, state that while using any company owned/issued hardware or email, you can have no expectation of privacy. If they gave you the laptop to be used for work purposes, then that laptop is their equipment, owned by them and controlled by them and anything you do on that machine is fair game to their observation or tracking.

That's how corporations work. I don't know of a single large company or corporation that has any other policy regarding this sort of thing. Their concern is that you will do something that will infect, harm or compromise their network and private data.

share|improve this answer

If the drive is not encrypted, you could boot it up with a Linux LiveCD and snoop around the HD to see if there is anything that appears suspicious. Other than that, asking is your best bet. You could check with a lawyer in your area to see if the company is allowed to lie in response to a question asking about what they monitor. That still isn't a guarantee that they wouldn't like, but if you document their answer and it is in fact illegal to lie about the answer in your jurisdiction, then you'd have a strong case against them if they took action against you based on your activity.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.