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Employers To Be Banned From Monitoring Staff's


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SNEAKY bosses who spy on personal emails are facing D-Day as state and federal politicians move to protect workers' privacy.

Queensland Attorney-General Cameron Dick said it was time to safeguard workers who unknowingly had their emails read and internet use monitored by unreasonable bosses.

Companies are also monitoring social network sites and using information to sack staff even if they are posting messages at home and don't mention their employer.

Lawmakers say they are determined to stop any such abuse.

The state and federal attorneys-general have been working on a set of workplace privacy guidelines since 2009 but Mr Dick said he would introduce his own code, regulations or law if national progress was not made soon.

"If agreement can't be reached, Queensland will then need to consider how it will proceed to address legitimate workplace privacy concerns," he told The Sunday Mail.

"These are complex issues, involving trying to find the balance between workers' privacy with the legitimate rights of employers to regulate their workplaces."

He said any new state laws or guidelines would be done with extensive consultation.

No single set of laws covers privacy or monitoring at work but some states have laws relating to information privacy and surveillance.

The ACTU in December told a federal parliamentary hearing into privacy that even a decade ago a survey by a major law firm found that 64 per cent of Australian employers who responded covertly monitored the emails of employees.

Many employers say they need the technology to stop staff stealing, sharing business secrets or embarrassing the company.

A public servant was recently sacked from the Commonwealth Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism for Googling "knockers" on a work computer. The man was off duty at home and used his own internet service provider.

ACTU president Ged Kearney said moderate personal technology usage should be accepted in the workplace.

"Due to the advancement of technology there is no longer a clear cut line between employees' private lives and their work, so employers need to take this into consideration," he said.

Source: http://www.news.com.au/technology/employers-to-be-banned-from-monitoring-staffs-email-facebook-and-internet-use/story-e6frfro0-1226000830739

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+1 agreed

but tbh if your at work your there to work and i think .... internet access should be allowed on 2/3 communal pcs rather than every pc apart from email << this would increase productivity 10x

unless you were a web developer

Edited by Trip
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+1 agreed

but tbh if your at work your there to work and i think .... internet access should be allowed on 2/3 communal pcs rather than every pc apart from email << this would increase productivity 10x

unless you were a web developer

True, I worked for a government agency before where internet usage was very limited. I could only access intranet no external websites. Man sometimes I would go insane without internet.

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  • 1 year later...

Employers should inform their staffs that they are monitoring their internet usage. From what I read in this article, employees has an option to take a break while working which would stop the monitoring and enable them to visit social media sites and check their personal email.

Um, they can take a break, but most companies have strict policies and block social media sites. We used to fire people from using the internet for personal means, and it was in the company handbook. We had a guy, who used to use Yahoo mail, got a virus onto the network because of it. He was also using dating sites while at work to pick up women. Needless to say, he doesn't work there any more. Blatant spying is one thing, but most employers have something in place to monitor all email and internet usage due to security reasons, and for anyone to think otherwise, is silly. Business computers are meant for doing business things. Sure, you can browse the news and check up on your sports scores without having to worry about the ban hammer, but let them catch you on some site like youtube or twitter, they will most likely come talk to you, if not fire you.

You're at work to work, not sit and talk to friends. That doesn't mean your employer has a right to your personal info outside of work, like asking for your twitter or facebook passwords, but be smart, don't share that info, don't let them know you even have accounts on those sites, and keep your profiles private and personal info, like name, state, city, etc, off of sites like that. Employers will do background checks on people by looking at social networking sites first. It can make the difference between getting the job and not if you go for an interview.

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Hopefully something similar is implemented in the other states soon/first, as a whole, rather than having the attorney generals implement more local policies...Just doesn't work well.

Recently had a decent discussion with the boss about this, basic idea was: "Don't do anything stupid, and if you do, you will be warned and asked to remove such items." This was obviously in regards to social networking. However, emails, if coming from a work domain and address, are obviously exclusively owned by the workplace, and should be under scrutiny.

Honestly, I think it's a pretty clear cut situation. If you don't like a workplaces policies, don't work there. Also make sure you actually read the policies, be informed and whatnot.

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"Due to the advancement of technology there is no longer a clear cut line between employees' private lives and their work, so employers need to take this into consideration," he said.

I think there is a clear cut line, if you are using company property for things other then work, then you should have issues, especially if you have a strict internet policies with your company. I would imagine most smaller 10-50 employee companies aren't going to be that balls-to-the-wheel about it. I do CIO for a call center, and I currently don't care about our agents who work from home with a company computer. If they horribly mangle windows, they can't work for a few days, and I'd just reformat, might charge them something for being stupid.

I agree with Digip, company computer, company internet, company paying for you to be there, your ass is theirs. If you have a company computer that you take home, just make sure with them it's ok to use in off hours, if not, it's not really your choice, use it at your own risk is my opinion. If someone is piggy backing on my wifi, it's my internet so I'm allowed to monitor it, same with company internet.

In this case, it sounds like the company was just looking for a reason to fire him, which sucks for him.

And

ACTU president Ged Kearney said moderate personal technology usage should be accepted in the workplace.

Bullshit, that's why you have breaks and home for. If you really need your facebook/myspace/...live journal? that badly, use a smart phone, until that gets you fired as well.

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+1 agreed

but tbh if your at work your there to work and i think .... internet access should be allowed on 2/3 communal pcs rather than every pc apart from email << this would increase productivity 10x

unless you were a web developer

That's all we do - 99% of the time we lock out the gateway - most users have no idea.

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That is until you start bringing BYO (Bring Your Own) devices into the mix.

Companies want to enjoy the benefits of reduced costs by having their employees use their own phones for example.

They maybe subsidizing their data plan, but that shouldn't give them the right to snoop all their employees data.

If the company is supplying your hardware and your software and your pipe, well yeah they do have more rights.

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I'm no big multinational company, but I'm not going to hire anyone I can't trust not to play around on Facebook all day long. That should be page 1 of the boss' handbook.

IMO, if you need to treat your employees like children and say 'go here, don't go there, please work and don't play' then maybe you should re-evaluate what it is they do and why they're there. Pretty soon they'll be buying those knee high doggie doors to keep employees in their cubicles : P

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I'm no big multinational company, but I'm not going to hire anyone I can't trust not to play around on Facebook all day long. That should be page 1 of the boss' handbook.

IMO, if you need to treat your employees like children and say 'go here, don't go there, please work and don't play' then maybe you should re-evaluate what it is they do and why they're there. Pretty soon they'll be buying those knee high doggie doors to keep employees in their cubicles : P

The people we hire aren't the sharpest crayons in the box, They answer phone calls and take orders, don't really need to a college grad with shining credentials to be able to do that. I realize most workplaces aren't like mine, but I know pretty much no workplaces have total trust in their employees. They aren't going to take a new hire's word on how much he worked in a day, they have time clocks and the like.

And you might be onto something with the knee high doggie doors...

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