Instant Messenging: October 2006 Archives

Mark Foley Scandal Rages On Over Instant Messages (IM)

Excepts and citations from the Wikipedia on the Foley Scandal. To learn more about what this means in terms of government and business and how IM documents should be treated as any other watch this Fox news segment from Kailash Ambwani, CEO of Facetime he covers why words like "guarantee", "rumor" or incidents like the Mark Foley Scandal and not logging Instant Messenging can put a big business at a big risk.

Foley's e-mails to the former Congressional page in Louisiana, who was 16 at the time, said in part:

"I am in North Carolina...and it was 100 in New that's really hot...well do you miss's raining here but 68 degrees so who can argue...did you have fun at your conference...what do you want for your birthday coming up....what stuff do you like to do,"


"I just emailed will...hes such a nice guy...acts much older than his age...and hes in really great shape...i am just finished riding my bike on a 25 mile journey..."

"how are you weathering the hurricane....are you safe?send me an email pic of you as well...."

The instant messages from 2003 that ABC obtained after its initial story were much more explicit than the e-mails from 2005 sent to the Louisiana page, and reportedly with a former page now employed in Oklahoma. According to several former congressional pages, the congressman used the screen name Maf54 on these messages. One exchange included:[

Maf54: do you really do it face down
Teen: ya
Maf54: kneeling
Teen: well i dont use my hand...i use the bed itself
Maf54: where do you unload it
Teen: towel
Maf54: really
Maf54: completely naked?
Teen: well ya
Maf54: very nice
Teen: lol
Maf54: cute butt bouncing in the air

In another exchange, Foley proposed to meet with a former page:

Maf54: I want to see you
Teen: Like I said not til feb?then we will go to dinner
Maf54: and then what happens
Teen: we eat...we drink...who knows...hang out...late into the night
Maf54: and
Teen: I dunno
Maf54: dunno what
Teen: hmmm I have the feeling that you are fishing here...
im not sure what I would be comfortable with...well see

An exchange that took place in April 2003 apparently reveals Foley engaging in cybersex with an eighteen-year-old former page as the House voted on an emergency supplemental appropriations bill to fund the Iraq War; the released portion does not contain the purported cybersex exchange:

Maf54: ok..i better go vote..did you know you would have this effect on me
Teen: lol I guessed
Teen: ya go vote?I don't want to keep you from doing our job
Maf54: can I have a good kiss goodnight
Teen: :-*

In another exchange, Foley appeared to invite the same page to his apartment with a friend to consume alcoholic beverages:

Maf54: we will be adjourned ny then
Teen: oh good
Maf54: by
Maf54: then we can have a few drinks
Maf54: lol
Teen: yes yes ;-)
Maf54: your not old enough to drink
Teen: shhh?
Maf54: ok
Teen: that's not what my ID says
Teen: lol
Maf54: ok
Teen: I probably shouldn't be telling you that huh
Maf54: we may need to drink at my house so we don't get busted

- For another transcript visit ABC News (warning explicit language)

- Kailash Ambwani Video on Foley Incident and Instant Messenger auditing and control.

There has been quite a bit of controversy over the "Mark Foley Scandal".

From the Wikipedia:

Mark Adam Foley (born September 8, 1954 in Newton, Massachusetts) was an American Republican politician and a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 until 2006, representing the 16th District of Florida.

Foley resigned from the U.S. Congress on September 29, 2006 after it surfaced that he had sent sexually explicit instant messages[1] to former Congressional pages who were both under and over the age of 18.[2] [3][4]. He had previously been warned about "overly friendly" emails to former Congressional pages. As a result of the disclosures, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) opened an investigation of the messages to find possible criminal charges

Given the government has put into effect all kinds of laws about digital messenging to protect people:

- Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Modernization Act (GLBA)

- Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX)

- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)

One has to wonder who watches the government for oversight in the digital realm? That is beyond my scope of knowledge, but companies might think about what a scandal like this might mean to them.

So where do you start? First figure out how much instant messenging traffic is going on in your network. Facetime has a free tool called the RTMonitor that can help with this.

Also get educated. Establish some IM policies- don't let incidents establish you. Facetime sponsored this whitepaper from the ReymannGroup.

A little snippet:

"...With the increased privacy and security awareness among businesses, customers, and our elected officials, traditional best practices are being incorporated into new laws and regulations that define a higher security standard that all affected organizations must achieve. Information security is no longer only a prudent business decision, it is mandated!..."

It's free and has a handy checklist too.

Best Practices for Emerging Compliance Challenges: Electronic Messaging and Communications (ReymannGroup)
[Direct Download PDF]


About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Instant Messenging category from October 2006.

Instant Messenging: September 2006 is the previous archive.

Instant Messenging: November 2006 is the next archive.

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