Feeds

Changing room spy cam sparks privacy tsar blast

Hong Kong biz barons told snooping on staff is bad, mmkay

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Hong Kong privacy tsar Allan Chiang has been forced to clarify to bosses that it’s not OK to spy on their employees, after property company Hong Yip was found to have installed spy cameras in one of its buildings to monitor staff.

In a lengthy investigation report, the privacy commissioner revealed that two security guards in a building managed by Hong Yip had been fired for “unauthorised absences from duty” after a hidden camera caught them “lingering” in the staff changing room when they should have been doing official security guard stuff.

The two then took the case to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) after they found the obviously not very well-hidden camera.

Although Hong Yip maintains the spy cam was installed for security purposes – specifically to investigate complaints of trespassers distributing “promotional materials" in the car park – the commissioner found against the firm.

Here’s what Hong Kong privacy tsar Chiang had to say:

Covert monitoring by employers is generally regarded as highly privacy intrusive. Hence, covert monitoring should only be used when employers have no other alternative and if it is absolutely necessary to do so, eg, (a) there is a reasonable suspicion that an unlawful activity is about to be committed, is being committed or has been committed; (b) the need to resort to covert monitoring to detect or to collect evidence of that unlawful activity is absolutely necessary given the circumstances; and (c) the use of overt monitoring would likely prejudice the detection or the successful gathering of evidence of that unlawful activity.

He added that all employers should have a privacy policy on employee monitoring and that the policy should be clearly communicated.

In this instance Hong Yip escaped punishment as it had already dismantled the spy cam, although it is unclear what form of redress the two members of staff received. Presumably they’re not looking for their old jobs back.

An interesting footnote to the story, as reported by local paper The Standard, is that privacy chief Chiang was actually in charge of Hongkong Post in 2005 when six spy cameras were found at one of its branches. Chiang's statement regarding that breach is here. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
Banks slap Olympus with £160 MEEELLION lawsuit
Scandal hit camera maker just can't shake off its past
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.