PRYING EARS

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FYI: The state Higher Education Services Corporation, which administers student loan programs, secretly taped its workers’ phone conversations with students, despite clear warnings from its legal advisers that the practice was illegal, according to an Inspector General’s report obtained by the Associated Press yesterday. The tapes go back to at least the fall of 2000, using a $300,000 system intended as quality control for customer service. A state investigation found HESC intended no harm and had simply poorly managed an attempt at better customer service. At least one employee, however, was disciplined after making derogatory remarks about a supervisor during a phone call. [2/5/03]