Feeds

Big Bother for Big Brother firms

Sneak peeks tweaked

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Firms which monitor their staff’s communications without consent could face court action, under new government guidelines.

The new rules aim to clamp down on snooping bosses by forcing them to inform employees if they are monitoring phone calls, emails and internet use.

'Big Brother' businesses which fail to comply with the new code of practice could be taken to court by disgruntled employees who feel that their privacy has been unfairly invaded.

The code, drawn up by Richard Thomas, the UK’s Information Commissioner, is designed to give companies a clearer understanding of their obligations under the Data Protection Act. This requires employers to handle personal details fairly and properly.

Currently, many firms monitor their employee’s online activities, in order to stamp out spam, viruses and inappropriate material that may circulate among the workforce.

However, the new code states that looking in on workers’ correspondence can only be justified to prevent malpractice or crime.

Thomas confirmed that there are few occasions where an employer can legitimately monitor their staff’s communications.

"If any monitoring is to take place it must be open and transparent and with the knowledge of the employee.

"Employees are entitled to expect that their personal lives remain private and they have a degree of privacy in the workplace," he said.

Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, welcomed the publication of the code. The code clears up much of the legal confusion around bosses monitoring staff, he said.

“It makes clear to staff that they must be told if, how and why their email, phone calls, internet use and other behaviour is being monitored.

“Employees and unions are now better equipped to ensure the right to privacy at work is respected,” he said.

© Startups.co.uk is the biggest independent small business site in the UK. It has more than 2500 articles covering everything from taking on staff to dealing with VAT.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
BIG FAT Lies: Porky Pies about obesity
What really shortens lives? Reading this sort of crap in the papers
Be real, Apple: In-app goodie grab games AREN'T FREE – EU
Cupertino stands down after Euro legal threats
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
The Heartbleed Bug: how to protect your business with Symantec
What happens when the next Heartbleed (or worse) comes along, and what can you do to weather another chapter in an all-too-familiar string of debilitating attacks?