Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom
I don't think it is ethical for companies to use it to spy on people, but I don't keep any secrets from my employer and I wouldn't want to work for anyone who tries to control my life when I'm not on their time.
No its not ethical in most cases. If you go in an do your job, access the internet as little as possible, then its useless to monitor. However, I have had to monitor a few people where I work because we opened up all the poker sites and some users that were caught surfing porn, err, quite frequenty at work (and not just your normal run of the mill adult porn either).
The only times I'm asked to "spy" on people is if they are doing something bad in the first place, like not accomplishing their work and having to work overtime because of it. In that case it becomes a financial issue since the employee(s) are earning time and a half because of the fact that many hours of their regular work week are dedicated to surfing versus working.
In addition sites like myspace (and perhaps facebook - I never been on that) have photos uploaded from individual's computer. Most people either don't have virus protection or they don't have enough protection for their files. I look at the logs of my firewall and sites like myspace and craigslist have a ton of computer worms and such that attempt to come in. this is something that I need to know in order to protect the company's files.
As for dictating your personal life...you'd be surprised. One judge reversed his decision on three girls for their underage drinking when he saw their myspace pictures. They basically went back to drinking and posted pictures of themselves giving him the finger. Basically it's like what you said, if you don't mind sharing it with whoever, go ahead and post it.
If you don't want anyone to know something about you, don't post it on the internet.