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Big Brother really is watching you (It's your IT manager)

In a fascinating survey, IT managers reveal some of the dubious activities they view being perpetrated by employees on work computers. These cause the IT managers extra stress and work (as well as, no doubt, the occasional fascination).

Be careful what you wish for. ComputerRepairsMiami/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

You know you're being followed, don't you?

You know that governments, phone companies, and all those sneaker-wearing pups at Google are interested in your every move.

Admit it, there's a part of you that quite likes it. It's better to have the impersonal and the inanimate care about you than no one at all.

However, there's another occasional snoop from whom your eye shouldn't often stray. It's the friendly, occasionally disheveled IT manager at your place of work.

They see things, you know.

There's a certain fascination, therefore, in reading the results of a survey of 300 IT Managers performed last month on behalf of TeamViewer.

This is a company that, stunningly, seems very focused on "the development and distribution of high-end solutions for online communication, collaboration and remote monitoring of IT systems."

In this survey, 92 percent of IT personnel admitted that they did, indeed, sneak peeks -- under the guise of doing their job, you understand -- at the details buried in workers' computers.

The other 8 percent work in monasteries. At least that's my assumption.

Perhaps you won't be surprised at the things these IT snoopers (42 percent of whom where female) see.

Eighty-two percent observe the obvious -- workers wafting onto social media sites of varying hues, rather than being what used to be called productive. Surely even work is social these days.

Fifty-seven percent insist that a huge problem is e-mail attachments of dubious provenance being opened. I have no evidence that any of these IT managers work for US Airways.

Fifty-two percent say that workers download games onto their office computers. And don't get them started about the unauthorized USB and other devices that get plugged into the precious office machines.

It seems there's also a lot of pirating going on in office time and on office equipment; 45 percent said they had seen evidence.

But perhaps the most enjoyable of all is observing just how many people in your office are applying for other jobs. Thirty-nine percent of IT managers said that, oh, yes, they'd seen job applications flying on work computers.

Perhaps these applicant are the people who are so bright that they never manage to leave their Sub-Associate Something Significant Manager positions.

Just like your government (in whichever country you are) is only spying to keep the system sound, IT managers are merely looking out for the welfare of the computers and the system as a whole.

Indeed, they report that viruses crawl all over office equipment like snakes on a plane. All this careless behavior by workers causes computers to slow and crash.

Mass pop-ups invade like ants on rancid ice-cream. Or crazy ants on Texas.

Thirty-three percent even declared that corporate e-mail grinds to a halt because of employees' carelessness.

All of these issues mean that 23 percent of these IT people say that they have to put in an extra 10 to 20 hours a week to sort out the mess.

Worse, 29 percent said that they had to walk 10 to 20 miles a month between desks and floors. No wonder they like Taco Bell so much.

Sixty percent of all these respondents described themselves as angry when computers are damaged by employees' careless behavior.

What was left unsaid in this study was whether these IT managers actively spied on workers' computers, or merely happened to notice the problems while they were forced to perform emergency repair work.

So I asked a couple of IT managers whether they had, well, secret methods of monitoring their company's computers whenever they felt like it.

One would only comment: "Hahaha."

The other replied: "I have no idea what you're talking about."