Monitor Someone's Email
Updated Dec 8, 2009 by Matthew Clark
First of all, if you work for a company, be very careful. More likely than not, your email usage will be monitored and stored, probably for quite some time or
indefinitely. Treat your work email as a tool for work. Most employers allow a limited personal usage, but read your usage policy before you put yourself at risk.
If you are the employer, then perhaps you may need to monitor someone's email within your company, or perhaps as a parent to monitor your children's?
(1) Exchange Server 2003 or Small Business Server 2003: (business)
You can store ALL email sent or received by every user for 'almost' free. You need to be the admin to the server, and you need a spare/older PC with a fair bit of disk space.
On the server create a user called "mailarchive" and hide it from the active directory. This is going to be your monitor email account. Setup a PC, with Outlook and login as that user. Make sure the password is secure. Setup Outlook so that the delivery location is a local .pst file (personal folder) so it does not fill up your mailstore.
Run the Exchange System Manager. Right click onthe "mailstore" and click properties. Tick the box "Archive all messages..." see below. Browse to the user you created.
You will need to make sure you start new personal folders every now and then to control the size of the files. Use Microsoft Search or Google Desktop to actively reference the data and you have an instant almost FREE solution.
(2) Spector Pro: (small business/home use/single pc)
This will monitor all the major email programs including: Outlook, Outlook Express, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail plus others. The email tab of the overall program will list all of the emails coming in and going out, who sent it, who received it, the subject of the email, and the time and date the email was sent or received. You can then drill down to see the full content of the email. Spector runs in the background, hidden, monitoring the email silently until you need to check it.
Email monitoring is LEGAL. Monitoring email is not a breach of "human rights". When I informed an estate agent recently that we were monitoring his email, he was most offended and claimed it breached his human rights. All the employer needs to do is make sure that they have a Computer Usage or email policy that warns employees that their emails are being monitored. This will allow you to monitor their email. I would extend the policy to also say that you will monitor their computer usage. The policy should also have the effect of educating your employees about the issues of circulating libelous or defamating emails so that they do not happen. I would also get the employees, both new and existing, so sign the email monitoring policy. The policy then must be tied to your disaplinary procedures and applied uniformly. The MD setting the policy of circulating jokes will not help you to enforce your email monitoring procedures!