Western Sydney University snooping on staff emails! – why am I not surprised

I suspected it and I was even asked by the officer in the Complaints Resolution Unit if I believe that they (read the National Institute of Complementary Medicine) were snooping on my emails.  Once I started to speak to the management of Western Sydney University about the serious concerns that I had with how the NICM operates, I immediately felt that more people knew about this matter than should have. The only way that this can happen was for them to either forward my emails to third parties or by snooping on my emails. Problem was how do you prove it? The only solution that I could come up with at the time, was to switch to my gmail account – at least that solved the snooping issue but not the forwarding issue.

It was therefore quite refreshing to read in the newspaper that WSU is indeed snooping on the emails of their staff. I feel vindicated! Here is a quote from the article:

A university spokesman said on Friday that WSU has in place “a policy relating to workplace surveillance” and does not “routinely” monitor any individual’s email, adding: “Staff are made aware of these policies when they commence and the university routinely notifies staff of the inclusions of these policies. We believe our practices are aligned with those in the sector and the Privacy Commission’s good practice guidelines.” But Mr Byrne hit back, alleging his treatment was the result of a “culture of paranoia” within campus. “It’s a relatively new player in a competitive industry. Everything it does publicly is perfectly crafted and considered. Yet behind the scenes, it is completely paranoid about how it is perceived.”

Isn’t this revealing! “….and does not routinely monitor any individuals email…”. They basically admit that they are indeed snooping on the emails of staff and I cannot agree more with Mr Byrne. WSU is as paranoid as they get and the reason for this is quite simple. They know that what they are doing is wrong! Obviously they have the tendency to ignore problems and instead of having a civil discussion they force the problem to go away – read make “difficult” people go away. They were quite happy to give me 6 weeks of pay but only if  I leave immediately!! No discussion, no debate – just get out of here! So they are happy to dish out $10 000 but please leave immediately.  To fully support all sorts of complementary medicine and to intentionally mislead the public for the sake of making money is wrong. They know that only very few people will have the ethics and the guts to stand up and say something about it, and it is those people that they need to check out and hence snoop on their emails. Worst of all, they employ people paid by the taxpayer, to do this – an educated guess – maybe to the tune of $100 000-200 000 per year?  Protect our image at all costs, so maybe my guess of how much they spend on this might be the understatement of the year.

Clearly they will have problems in various departments and not only at the NICM and clearly they will not discuss these serious issues but will rather resort to gestapo style surveillance in order to make troublesome people “disappear”. It is as if this university will never wake up –  but it cannot be that hard. Focus on real science and all your numbers will fall into place and you don’t have to spend excessive amounts of funding and time to put all these fires out. Once it starts to burn, the fire will eventually consume the university – time to wake up!