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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger
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    Can you spy on people

    Is is possible to have an email message automatically generated when someone opens a document you create? For example, if I create a document and send it to someone, could I have a message sent to me from anyone who opens it? The purpose would be to ensure the security of highly classified documents. Or is this too much like a virus that it shouldn't be played around with?

  2. #2
    Silver Lounger Charles Kenyon's Avatar
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    Re: Can you spy on people

    I don't know how to do this but know that it can be done. I believe that it can be blocked by one of Microsoft's patches, though. There have been a couple of articles about it in Woody's Office Watch within the last six months.
    Charles Kyle Kenyon
    Madison, Wisconsin

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    Re: Can you spy on people

    Hi GF,

    Just out of curiosity: is it part of your requirement that the user is unaware that the e-mail has been sent, and no record exists of it having been sent (for instance no copy in Sent Items)?

    That degree of stealth would probably require scripting; don't know whether or not that would trigger virus alerts. It could probably be done though.

    Doesn't the very act of e-mailing highly classified documents create security issues anyway? - for example is encryption is being used?

    Gary

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Can you spy on people

    Probably you should look into a "wrapper" program that will control access to your document and execute the messaging function. I'm not aware of any such programs (except Zip-type compression and password schemes and Back Orifice), but I suspect they are out there for those of you needing high security.

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    Re: Can you spy on people

    Yes it can be done and is achieved with the use of Web Cookie technology associated with a hidden pixel shim.

    Have a look at this article http://www.idg.net/idgns/2000/08/31/UPDATE...Documents.shtml or go to
    The Privacy Foundation, in Denver, Colorado, on the Web at http://www.privacyfoundation.org/

    I have not worked out how to implement it myself but I have definately seen the example work.

    Of course it is completely unscrupulous to use such a thing - and Gary of course I didn't put one in that template I sent you.
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

  6. #6
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    Re: Can you spy on people

    >>For example, if I create a document and send it to someone, could I have a message sent to me from anyone who opens it?

    You could start with the option "Notify me when this message is read" (or something - I am not using the English version) in View/Options in Outlook when you create the message. This option ensures that you will be notified when the other party opens your mail message. But you cannot be sure whether the document is read or not.

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    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: Can you spy on people

    If it is on a local network, and your OS supports it, could you use the messenger service?

    Private Sub Document_Open()
    a = Shell("NET SEND GirlFriday Doc x opened", vbMinimizedNoFocus)
    End Sub

  8. #8
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    Re: Can you spy on people

    if you need to control the viewing of highly classified docs, then try sites like <A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.disappearing.com>http://www.disappearing.com</A> so that you can control who reads it and for how long it's live. works only on mail, AFAIk, not documents and you probably can't control copying to clipboard or screenshots etc. For that, you need to trust the user.

    There are about 3 vendors that do this sort of thing, see the <A target="_blank" HREF=http://exchange.devx.com>MEC Dailies</A> for the complete list. I think they work with all mail clients, not just outlook.

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    Re: Can you spy on people

    Hello, GF:

    I too work for a lawfirm, and have fielded this type of question for various practice groups.

    Those in the corporate securities practice group are told:
    (a) internet e-mail is about as secure as making 100 hard copies and going down on the street to pass them out by hand (not that anyone necessarily would intercept the e-mail, but the fact is they could) encryption is not a foolproof science;
    ( use of internet e-mail for distribution of PPM's and POS's violates SEC insider trading regulations and they have made a ruling in that vein.

    Other practice groups wishing to ensure their work product (such as estate's who don't want to invest hours and hours on a new codicil only to have the client sign it elsewhere and then dispute the bill):
    Don't send editable documents. Send in pdf with a DRAFT watermark and no signature blocks.

    Anything that could be made a part of the document as a AutoOpen macro will generally be detected and disabled by the recipient (I disable macros unless it's a template I'm expecting from a reliable source, and our users are set with high security so they don't even have an option... it's disabled).

    Finally, there's nothing to preclude the intended recipient from printing and/or copying multiple hard copies and distributing them.

    HTH
    Karen

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