Can my employer read my text messages?

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I've Been Here Awhile
Posts: 2

Can my employer read my text messages?

Hello,

I use a Blackberry Z10 on Rogers for both work and personal use.

When my employer offered me to have a Blackberry, it allowed porting my existing number to the company's mobile plan.
I chose to port my existing number to avoid the hassle of carrying around two phones all the time (One personal and one for Work), so I am now using my Blackberry for both work and personal.

The phone is owned by my employer and the bill is directly paid by my employer as well. I don’t receive the bill.

When I first received my phone, I phoned tech support (My company’s tech support, not Rogers) to ask if my company would have access to my text messages or anything I do on the Personal side of the phone, they said no. They said that the company only can see anything I do on the Work.
I sent an email to have this in writing, no one replied. So I have no written proof that what the guy on the phone answered is true or not.
 
I looked over the company’s intranet for any information about this and didn’t find any.
As I use my work phone for both work and personal, I sometimes end up sending/receiving explicit text messages that I obviously do not want my company to read or have access to.

The company I work for has a very large IT department. So my question, can they see or store the text messages I send on my Blackberry?  (If they don’t physically seize the device I mean)

Thanks in advance for your answer.

 

***Edited Labels.***

Solved! Go to Solution.
I'm a Trusted Advisor
Posts: 32,015

Re: Can my employer read my text messages?

Hello TorontoMan


No they can not. The only way someone would be able to do so is contact the carrier via police warrant or lawyer warrant via the police and the carrier would release the text messages to them and ONLY them.
I'm a Reliable Contributor
Posts: 101

Re: Can my employer read my text messages?

Hello TorontoMan

Service providers don't provide any information that would be considered detailed/personal of that nature unless it was requested via a supena, court order, warrant etc. Even then it is only released to the government department/law enforcement requesting it.

Having said that, it is not impossible that they may have a program installed on the phone or have it registered for. For example, the Rogers One Number feature is an online profile that one can register their phone number and it tracks all text messages and even permits the profile user to send messages via the website that the handheld user would not be aware of.

I would definitely inquire further if it is a phone that you've received from them. If it is your own phone, and you have simply added it under their account as a business plan, it would reduce the risk of this, although I wouldn't risk anything personal on a phone I'm not 100% certain with. Keep in mind though, I'm quite paranoid when it comes to these types of things. I usually post, send, and comment on things assuming that someone of authority can read them.

Hope this helps. 🙂

I'm a Trusted Advisor
Posts: 32,015

Re: Can my employer read my text messages?

Hello Micolas


While Rogers One Number can do that, it would be illegal for them to do this unless the OP signed a form stating that the company can install it and track their call, text messages and other things. If my company did that and without my knowledge, i would have taken them to court for it as it's illegal.


The OP can remove the Rogers one Number of the phone but depending if the Google account / Blackberry ID is locked to the IT department which i doubt it is.

Either way if the OP feels like it's their are being watched, they can factory reset the device and remove apps they think it may cause it ( disable rogers One Number and other apps) . Also there are tricks online which can help u see if that happens..

Again the legal way for a company to see your text messages or call records would be if you sign a agreement agreeing they are allowed too OR going through the police and getting a warrant from a Judge to do so. Government departments aren't needed unless it has something to do with illegal activity or something in that nature. Only then do they get involved.
I'm a Trusted Contributor
Posts: 336

Re: Can my employer read my text messages?

If the phone of the OP is connected to a BES server, the texts can be read by the employer.

 

 

Cheers.  🙂

I'm a Reliable Contributor
Posts: 101

Re: Can my employer read my text messages?

Hello BillJ

Thank you, I forgot about that avenue.

Blackberry Enterprise Services intergrate your phone in its entirety to their servers. From reading your attachments to checking your global address. It goes right down to Calander, Contacts, Notes, and even the "To do list" on your phone.

As per the legality of it Meowmix, its like the terms of service of Rogers which is agreed upon by purchasing a Rogers cellphone and services, by using that companies business code and specialized plan, you are also agreeing to their terms/requirements. It doesn't feel right but you are given a specialized plan and pricing by the company you work for to use for work related purposes which does give them the right to monitor it's usage.

Hope this helps. 🙂

I'm a Trusted Advisor
Posts: 32,015

Re: Can my employer read my text messages?

Hello Micolas

 

 I know in a company when you get hired you have to sign forms which include the they can follow you on social media and have access to your text messages and other phone stuff ( i know this from people that work for BMO, Scotiabank, Longos, Loblaws and others).  They signed a agreement when receiving the work phone on this.  If the OP did sign that paper or verbally told them "Yes" then the are allowed too.  Other then that they aren't.   

We need to know via the OP if they are using Blackberry balance ( which i am sure they are). Now as for the OP, have you spoken to anyone else in the company including your management to see what they say?

I'm a Reliable Contributor
Posts: 101

Re: Can my employer read my text messages?

I guess to only two questions that need to be answered would be:
-If the OP is using company equipment or his own phone, which he has already answered.
-If he is hooked up to a BES server or not.

Other than that, he'll have to contact his employer directly for more information.

I used the Rogers terms of service as an example as to how easy it can be agree to something, provided that the fine print is not read carefully. A simple hardware release form, or plan eligibility request that needs to be signed by the OP to get the company phone.

As per the Rogers One Number, you can't remove it from the phone. You can delete the application off of your phone but that only stops the phone from accessing it, it does not stop the tracking of messages. Only the account holder, or authorized level 1 for business accounts would be able to request the removal of the feature.

the fact that the OP has ported his number over, and is using work equipment, means it's highly likely that he has signed documents in order to use it, etc.

I would assume that they can read it at this point to be on the safe side but would recommend to check more with his employer. Most companies understand that their employees do use it for personal uses.

Hope this helps. 🙂

I've Been Here Awhile
Posts: 2

Re: Can my employer read my text messages?

Thank you Meowmix, Micolas, BillJ for your answers and help.


Here are some more details:

  • The Blackberry Z10 is owned by the employer, it's customized/configured (For example, one customization is that I can't choose a 4-digit passcode, passcodes need to be a long alphanumeric combination for added security)
  • It has Blackberry Balance (Separating Work and Personal) 
  • The Text Messages and the Rogers "My account" app and the Rogers "1 Number" app are on the Personal (not the work) side. (Although if I open the Blackberry hub on the Work side, I can read the text messages from there)

 

So you're saying the company may be technically able to read or store the text messages?  

 

Thanks very much.

 

 

I'm a Trusted Contributor
Posts: 336

Re: Can my employer read my text messages?

I'm waiting on a definite answer from my friend who's a BES 10 admin.

 

His simple answer from yesterday (as I posted above) was that your employer could see your texts if you're connected to a BES 10 server. Unfortunately, that doesn't fully answer your question about the Balance issue.

 

I've written back to him asking if the employer can see the texts on the Work side, the Personal side or both.

 

One thing I can tell you before hearing back from him is yes, it is possible that your texts can be seen. Is it legal? Did you agree to that in the terms of taking the phone? Can your employer use any of your texts against you in any way? I can't answer any of those questions, I can just tell you that in some circumstances the texts can be seen.

 

I'll get back to you when I get a clearer understanding of the situation.

 

 

Cheers.  🙂