By Ethan Wolff-Mann
June 16, 2016

CNBC managed to get its hands on an internal document from Goldman Sachs that detailed its process for reading employee emails.

Keep in mind that any employee, especially in a public company, and especially a public company in the finance sector, has no right or expectation of privacy while using company equipment. But it’s interesting to see exactly what the bank thinks are red flags that warrant further investigation from the compliance department.

They stem from emotional statements, like “I am not a happy camper” and “you are a piece of sh*t,” to words that indicate obligation (“I promise this time”) or dispute (“where did my money go”). Swearing—outlawed in company emails in 2010—also drops a flag on the play, as does the zip code of the SEC (for the record, it’s 20549).

Companies have been doing this for a long time, and it’s safe to say that if you work a corporate job with a corporate email account, your messages are likely being monitored. Today employers have more tools available for snooping, whether it’s monitoring computer keystrokes, looking at Slack messages, or having bots automatically scan email. (Spyware isn’t just for criminals.)

But according to industry watchers, the Goldman leak is a new development. “This is the first time to my knowledge anyone’s gotten their hands on the keywords,” says Lewis Maltby, president of National Workrights Institute, an organization that promotes employee rights.

Despite the seemingly innocuous nature of many of the phrases on the list—including “for internal use in the offices of” and “I don’t understand”—the purpose of the monitoring is “for concerns about what people are doing that could be harmful,” Maltby says. The process for most firms is not comprehensive, but IT departments do open email flagged by keyword lists. (Alarmingly, Maltby adds, many companies don’t have a policy for monitoring the monitors.)

A spokesman for Goldman Sachs told CNBC, “We deploy cutting-edge technology and exercise the utmost care to protect confidential information, secure data and provide high-end client service. The firm’s monitoring efforts reflect our commitment to upholding the highest standards of professionalism and integrity.”

If you’re curious as to whether your email and computer activities are monitored, the default answer is probably yes if you work for a company that is in any way “corporate.” Generally employers don’t go out of their way to explicitly tell employees, but the policy is usually there if you look for it. In fact, Maltby says, when you log in to your company computer, there’s often a small message somewhere stating that you have no right to privacy. The information may be in your HR manual too.

So does this mean you should never go on your personal Gmail at work? You’re employer likely doesn’t care about your grocery lists, as long as you don’t spend your day on Gchat. But it’s good to remember that anything that passes through company servers isn’t 100% private.



Here’s the entire list of Goldman Sachs flagged terms, via CNBC.

a sure {bet}|{thing}

adjust your account|losses|profits

against my expressed[?] wishes

answer {your}|{the} %ANY%[0,3] phone

are {not responsive}|unresponsive

bad to worse

charge in excessive amount

charged {too much}|{excessively}

close|end|terminate my %ANY% [1,5] relationship with GS|Goldman|{this firm}

Clowns {managing|running} the fund|show|portfolio|account|{my money}

concern* %ANY% [1,5] safety of my money|fund|account

cover {your}|{our} losses

didn’t authorize the sale

didn’t|didnt|{did not} explain to me|us

disturbs|troubles me|us

don’t worry i’ll take care of it

don’t you f*cking understand

done|{did this} without %ANY% [1,5] calling|emailing|contacting me|us|anyone

embezzled the account

extremely|really|quite|very unhappy|disappointed

failed to execute {our}|{my}instructions

fix the {trade}|{trades}|{commissions}

fix|adjust|change the trade*|commission*

formally|formal complain|complaint

found numerous|several errors|mistakes

give you a piece of {the}|{my} commission

how could this happen again[?]

How could you|GS|Goldman possibly[?] lose so|this|that much

I %ANY% [0,4] {losing}|{lost} patience with {you}|{GS}|{Goldman}

I am not a happy camper

I didn’t {authorize}|{agree}

I expect {a|an|your}[?] {answer*|response} {today|now|asap}

I|we have lost|{run out of}|{ran out of} confidence|faith|trust|patience

I have raised %ANY% [1,5] at least %ANY%[1,3] times

I have raised %ANY% [1,5] so many times

I lost {exorbitant|enormous amounts of}|{so|too much} money

I told you %ANY% {days|weeks|months} ago

I told you %ANY%[0,1] {days|weeks|months} ago

i want the %ANY%[0,2] trade reversed

I wanted out of %ANY%[3] {stock | {hedge fund} | fund | account | position}

I won’t|wont|{will not} pay for the|this trade

I {don’t}|{dont}|{do not} understand

I {trusted}|{believed in}|{had faith in} you

“I {was|am} extremely[?]{pissed|angry|concerned|upset|agitated|bothered|distressed|


I {would appreciate}|want {a|an} {call|email}

if this {doesn’t} | {does not} get resolved|fixed soon|immediately|{right now}

incompetent|inept fund|account management

increasingly|really getting[?] frustrated

it is your | goldmans | {goldman’s} job to make sure

I|we demand

I|we will not pay

lack of care|attention %ANY% [1,5] my money|account*|fund*

let me remind you

losing confidence|faith|trust|patience

mad|angry|frustrated as hell|f*ck

make it up to you

my repeated {requests}|{request}

no longer be doing business

No one {called|emailed|contacted}

no one {{gave you}|{had} permission}|{said you could}

not %ANY%[0,1] reasonable

not even one phone[?] {call} | {email} | {word} from {you | goldman}

not made aware

not {heard {back[?]} from you}|{what we agreed}

Paying fees {through|thru} the {nose|a–|butt}

phone {calls}|{call}e-mail{have}|{has} not been answered

piece of sh*t

pissed|pisses me off

poor|terrible|crappy {fund|account|portfolio}[?] results|performance

really %ANY%[0,2] pissed|{PO’d}

rebate|refund my|your loss*

rebate|refund what I lost

register that|this as a complaint

remedy the situation

report the matter to the {sec}|{nasd}|{nyse}

reverse the commissions

reverse {this}|{the} %ANY%[0,5] {trade}|{transaction}

screw*|f*ck* it up

so frustrat*

something {went}|{is really}|{will go} wrong

split the difference

statement complaint

still have not received

stock will {fly}|{soar}|{dive}|{tank}

supposed to be the top|best financial company

surprised|concerned|frustrated|angry that you didn’t|{did not} contact|call|email me

take care of any fees|commissions

taken advantage of {{the exemption in Financial Reporting Standard} | {the following exemptions on the first time adoption} | {any of the relaxed hedge accounting requirements} | {passport, this will still be subject to}úLSE%}[?]

That’s not what I {said}|{told you}

the {deal | account | fund | trade | trades} {was | were} not handled properly

there is a %ANY%[0,3] problem

there is|are|{appears to be} a|several mistake*

there was an|a error|mistake

These managers give me a really[?] bad feeling

this is %ANY%[0,5] totally[?] unacceptable|{not acceptable}

this is not fair

this won’t|{will not} happen again

this {is not}|isn’t|wasn’t|{was not} the %ANY% amount|{correct price}|price|stock|{correct stock}

This {part of the}[?] portfolio is[?] completely[?] sucks|stinks|f*cked up|{messed up}

time to dump

trades could|should be cancelled|reversed

transfer my {account}|{funds}immediately

troubles|disturbs|{disturbing to} me how long follow-up has taken

undo|break the trade

way too f*cking much

what happened to %ANY%[0,5] money

What happened to my {money}|{account}|{trade}|{funds}?

what i f*cking said

what the hell|f*ck|heck {are|is} {you|GS|Goldman} doing with my|this|the {money|account|trade|funds|savings|portfolio}

what the {f*ck}|{hell}|{heck} {happened}|{is going on}|{is happening} with|to my|the|this {account|money|trade|fund*|savings|portfolio

Where did my {money}|{funds}|{account} go

where the {f*ck}|{hell} are you

who can I escalate the|this matter|issue|problem

who the {f*ck}|{hell}|{heck} said you could

who the {heck}|{f*ck}|{hell} do you think you are

who {supervises}|{manages} you

why should I|we pay

why {haven’t}|{didn’t} you {return}|{returned} my {call}|{calls}

won’t be doing business with you|GS|Goldman

worst investment

wrong amount|price|{number of shares}|stock

You didn’t follow my {instructions}|{wishes}|{plans}|{objectives}

You didn’t {tell me}|{say} that

You never {told me}|{said} that

you said you would {redeem|sell}

You stole from {me}|{my account}

you told me there {was no}|{wasnt any}|{wasn’t any} {downside risk}|{risk involved}

you were not up front

you werent|weren’t|{were not} authorized

you {didn’t}|{did not} | {didnt} {%ANY%[?] listen}|{supervise}

you {didn’t}|{did not}|{didn’t} {answer the question} | {reply}

you {f*cked}|{messed}|{screwed} up

you {have to}|{must} buy this stock

your|Goldman’s failure to comply|respond

you|GS|Goldman failed to comply|respond

{Call the SEC} {%precededby% {{Please. 20549}|{Please. D.C.}úLSE%}[?] } | {{{at 1-800-sec-0330} úlse%}[?]}

{contact}|{call the} {appropriate[*]} {authorities}|{regulators}|{nasd}|{nyse}|{sec}

{did not}|{didnt}|{didn’t} have permission to {buy}|{sell}|{trade}|{exchange}

{do not}|don’t have the confidence|faith|trust|patience to continue

{does not}|doesn’t|don’t respond|reply to my calls|emails

{don’t}|{dont}worry about the losses

{have|has} not received {the paperwork} | {any calls}

{I am}|I’m {%ANY%[0,2]} {pissed off}|furious|irate|livid|incensed|upset|angry

{I am}|I’m|Im {not satisfied}|unsatisfied|dissatisfied

{i promise this time}|{this time i promise}

{i’ll}|{I will} fix {everything}|{it}

{i’ll}|{I will} work it out

{i’ve been trying}|{i’ve tried} to reach you

{i’ve}|{I have} been {unable}|{unsuccessful}trying to reach you

{i’ve}|{I have} contacted {my}|{an}|{your} attorney

{It’s|it is} %ANY%[0,2] impossible to understand what|{what is} {{going on}|happened|occurred}

{I}|{Goldman Sachs}|{the firm}|{we} will make up the losses

{I}|{Goldman Sachs}|{the firm}|{we} {guarantee*}|{promis*}|{swear*} that[?] this won’t|{will not}|{will never} happen again

{I}|{we} will sue {you}|{your firm}|{Goldman}|{GS}

{I}|{we} will take you to court


{regarding}|{concerning} your problem

{should have}|should’ve been bought|sold|done %ANY% [1,5] ago

{transactions}|{transaction}|{trade} {was}|{were} never executed

{transfer|sale} still {hasn’t}|{has not} {happened|occurred}

{where have you been}|{where the {f*ck}|{hell}|{heck} have you been}

{who is}|{i want the name of} your {supervisor}|{manager}

{you’re}|{you are} a piece of sh*t

{your|these}{behavior|actions} are %ANY%[0,1] {unacceptable|{not acceptable}}

{You}|{Goldman Sachs}|{the firm} were|was not authorized

{you}|{Goldman Sachs}|{your firm} personally guaranteed

{you}|{Goldman Sachs}|{your firm} will be hearing from my {attorney}|{lawyer}

{you}|{Goldman Sachs}|{your firm} {messed}|{screwed} up

{you}|{Goldman Sachs}|{your firm} {won’t}|{will not} get away with this

{mistake|error} on {your|GS|Goldman*} part

receiv* a|any|no response to my {email}|{call}|{inquir*}|{question*}|{complaint*}

{I}|{we} {did not}|{did’nt}|{didnt} receive|get a response

negatively affected by this|these %ANY%[0,5] change*|error*|mistake*

{please let me}|{allow me to} address your {concerns}|{confusion}|{problem}

missing money|funds

{not happy}|unhappy|dissatisfied with the {way}|{manner} in which this is being handled|addressed|resolved

not happy|satisfied|content with the way GS|Goldman|you is|are handling|resolving|addressing this

GS|Goldman is really upsetting|frustrating me

{I don’t think this is}|{this is not}|{this isn’t} the type of customer service I deserve|expect*

avoid this kind|type of error|mistake|fumble|misstep|slipup|{foul up}|stumble

{please let me}|{allow me to} provide %ANY%[0,5] a|an reason|explanation

{I have}|{i’ve} been {unhappy}|{displeased}|{unsatisfied} with the {firm’s attitude}|{attitude of the firm}

I am {unhappy}|{displeased}|{unsatisfied} with the {firm’s attitude}|{attitude of the firm}

{I have}|{I’ve} found the {direction|attitude} of the firm {troubling|worrisome|disturbing|concerning|demoralizing|aggravating|perturbing|distressing|discomforting|disconcerting|demoralizing}

{I|we} find the {direction|attitude} of the firm {troubling|worrisome|disturbing|concerning|demoralizing|aggravating|perturbing|distressing|discomforting|disconcerting|demoralizing}

{my|our} {low|unsavory} view of {GS|goldman|{the firm}}

Not For[?] Communicat*|Distribut*|send*|delive* Outside %any%[,2] Firm|GS|{goldman sachs}|goldman

for internal use in the offices of

internal only

internal u.s.e. only

{internal use only} { {%precededby% { {private|your | { for and confidential deemed is message this in } }úlse%}} | {{%any%[,2] {to be completed by} | {checking account number} }úlse%} | {%any%[0,5] SMARTPlus}úlse% }[?]

{social security}|{soc sec}|soc|ss{{no|number|#}[*]}%#dddpddpdddd%



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