A friend of mine commented that her iPhone Internet is faster than her work computer’s Internet.
It’s bothered me for some time that the assumption is that companies can spy into your business as much as they want because “they provide” the equipment. Are you going to listen to my phone call to my doctor as well? Unfortunately, too often, the answer (given seriously) is “yes”.
“We have no respect for you. You are meat. Here’s your minimum + $x.” It seems odd on the surface, but obvious once introspected. The more people pay you, the more they don’t intrude on you. This has always been the case for me, and I’ve worked a wide variety of jobs.
Apple hinted in the comment section after their iPhone 3.0 announcement that they were exploring options for tethering your phone to your (laptop) computer. Your phone in your pocket. Your computer on the table/desk. The computer using the phone’s 3G Internet access.
That’s cool (and already available on some phones) and the pipe will only get larger in the future. You could easily tether your work computer to your phone to get better throughput, or to email your lawyer about your divorce, your doctor about your herpes, or sweet naughties to your spouse deployed overseas. And get back to work all the faster. And not fear for your privacy.
Of course, soon enough your phone will be as powerful as your computer. But forcing employees to have separate avenues of communication is inefficient. If you afforded them privacy in the first place it wouldn’t require it. Providing them with sufficient Internet access speeds is another issue altogether. (Time to dump the ISDN?!)
Of course companies are going to whine about corporate espionage, and to them I say: know your employees, manage them well, pay them well, keep them informed, and treat them like humans. That will avoid most of your problems.