Napster, Kazaa, Limewire, Torrents, Streaming Video – Many people have been bitten by the “freeware” bug over the years and will do just about anything to satiate their downloading itch.  For one employee, it was worth losing his job.
Daniel Lublin writes about this case in the Metro article, “The hazards of personal use on workplace computers”.  Steve Rowe, an employee of Sheridan College, worked in IT support for 12 years with a spotless record of employment and one of the highest paying jobs in the department.  A network audit found discrepancies that led to the discovery that Rowe had been using the school’s network to download large amounts of music, video games and pornography. What’s more is that he had given at least 11 other friends access to his media cache.  Rowe was dismissed shortly after the discovery, but questioned whether or not the college had overreacted.  Courts will normally give employees the benefit of the doubt when considering whether lesser actions could have been taken, but Rowe’s termination was upheld on the basis that he had breached the necessary trust his employer required. 
Do you fancy yourself a sleuth when it comes to evading the powers that be while using your workplace computer? Do you toggle back and forth between applications when you see your boss in the distance?  Lublin cautions employees not to be fooled into thinking that “their actions will be immune from discipline as decision makers are becoming increasingly aware of the damage computer misuse can cause and they are often unwilling to tolerate it.”