18. Your Boss Checking Your Internet Usage

The modern office provides few experiences more unnerving than when the IT department takes over your PC remotely. You watch helplessly as your mouse pointer skitters through setup and installation routines, as if your desktop was possessed. At the end you gingerly regain control, but the suspicion remains that they are still watching, and laughing, as you fumble around on news pages, message boards and worse.

Five out of the seven jurors for this list are or were ILX regulars, and the other two no doubt have skeletons of their own. We worked out in the pub once that ILX had cost the global economy almost two million pounds – god only knows what the figure might be for, say, Blogger. The co-worker across from me browses holiday and hotel sites; the colleague on my right looks at Gaydar. This fear isn’t just the preserve of web-board nerds.

At the root of this fear isn’t death or injury or even job loss (realistically the worst consequence of boss snooping, unless you’ve been browsing really dodgy sites), it’s the horror of being caught doing something and having to explain yourself. The rapier-like cut-and-thrust of message board debate seems very far away when you have to sit in a chilly office and explain to an impatient employer what exactly “IT IS TEH GAY” means, or what a “woebot” is.