Feeds

Big Bother for Big Brother firms

Sneak peeks tweaked

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Reducing security risks from open source software

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.

Seven Steps to Software Security

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.