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In EU, Internet Use From Work May Be Protected 146

Posted by Zonk
from the just-because-they-can-see-you dept.
athloi wrote with a link to an Ars Technica article on a case involving the right to privacy on the internet. "A Welsh university employee has successfully sued the UK government in the EU court of human rights over monitoring of her personal internet use from work. According to the complaint, the woman's e-mail, phone, Internet, and fax usage were all monitored by the Deputy Principal (DP) of the college, who appears to have taken a sharp dislike to her. The woman claimed that her human rights were being abused, and pointed specifically to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which governs private and family life." The courts agreed; despite a lack of a notion of 'privacy' in English law, the EU convention forced their hand. The ruling doesn't try to dissuade employers from monitoring employees, but does encourage them to inform employees about surveillance.
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In EU, Internet Use From Work May Be Protected

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  • Re:Trolling headline (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gbjbaanb (229885) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @03:35PM (#18680479)
    I think most terms of employment make this clear (somewhere in the 50-page employee handbook :) ) that the facilities provided by the company for you to perform your work on may be monitored at any time. If not, remember to put one in yours if you ever start a company or you may end up paying someone to surf porn all day.
  • Re:Trolling headline (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jez9999 (618189) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:17PM (#18681159) Homepage Journal
    You shouldn't really need to monitor their browsing/e-mail unless they're not getting the results required. I'm a strong believe that employees should be judged on what they achieve, not how they achieve it. If they can view port 80% of the day and be acceptably productive, so be it.
  • by acidosmosis (972141) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @04:21PM (#18681245)
    I'm one of those ;-). Although corporate is starting to filter out message boards and sites of that nature. In most of those cases all I have do is hit "continue" to view the site anyway.

    I work in IT as a Network Administrator and most of the time I am able to fix what goes wrong in five to 10 minutes while in charge of rougly 200 computers, five server rooms, application servers, support about 160 employees...a lot of the free time I have I spend reading articles online (mainly RSS feeds).
  • Re:Trolling headline (Score:3, Interesting)

    by yuna49 (905461) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @05:16PM (#18682057)
    We should also note that there is a difference between monitoring and intercepting communications. In essence, the former is looking at things like where an e-mail going from and to or the addresses of web sites visited, while the latter involves observing the content. This ruling seems to refer only to monitoring communications.

    The article explicitly states that this is precisely what happened. The contents of her communications were not monitored, but their destinations (telephone numbers, web sites, etc.) I know people on Slashdot don't like to hear this, but I don't have any problem with this at all. People working on their employer's premises using their employer's systems should not have free rein to surf to their hearts' content, chat with dozens of friends on IM, or send emails to all their closest friends. Now most employers I work with tend to ignore such activities when it doesn't interfere with working or put the employers at risk. On the other hand, one of my clients recently fired someone who worked the night shift and spent his time downloading porn onto one of the machines in the office. I have no sympathy for such people.
  • by scottv67 (731709) on Tuesday April 10, 2007 @05:19PM (#18682099)
    There are so many annoying restrictions at work, that a few people I know just take their own laptops.

    And if you bring your own laptop, how do you access resources on the corporate network? Please tell me that you're not connecting your network cable to your laptop while your wifi connection is enabled.

    Every time that Internet usage monitoring comes up on Slashdot, all the k00l kidz post their solutions for getting around tools like Websense and restrictive firewall policies on outbound traffic. As fun as "pulling one over on The Man" can be, violating the AUP is grounds for termination. Complain all you want about being fired but at the end of the day, you'll still be unemployed.

    To head-off the "Oh yeah, I'm tool l33t to work at a square company with draconian fw admins like that dude!" comments, please know that we can't afford to have people like you on the payroll. Your methods of skirting URL filtering and/or firewall policies will get the organization sued, get us into the newspaper or both. We can't afford to have that happen.

    I've been there and seen it happen. Once your organization is in the newspaper for something unsavory, that kind of damage to the credibility of the organization is hard to repair. The old saying goes "There's no such thing as bad publicity." Well, there *is* bad publicity and it can be quite costly.
  • Re:Whoo Hoo (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fyngyrz (762201) * on Wednesday April 11, 2007 @03:08AM (#18686029) Homepage Journal
    However, surfing for porn at work is just something I have never understood. If you cannot wait until you "get off" from work to surf porn, I think you should really meet some people instead of drooling over the monitor in your cubicle.

    Lady at work used to send me really funny porn pics; a lady with an n-gauge train driving up her coochie; a lobster (no, really) half-inserted, claws out, a coochie made up to look like two lips, smoking a cigarette - probably 30-40 of these pics, arriving sort of randomly attached to various emails over quite a few months. Same person joined my martial arts class and one day she retired to the back of the room during a workout, citing a headache. At a later break in the class (I work them very hard, so they need recovery time), I walked back to check on her and asked her, "how's your head?", and she said "I've never had any complaints...", deadpan. We've been a couple for over a decade now, and she's a black belt as are two of her three sons. Hooray for porn at work, sexuality at work and in class, and boo to anyone who thinks repression is the way to go.

    And as a corporate policy there are a few reasons why surfing for porn should not be allowed. The most important of which is that most p0rn sites are full of malicious scripts.

    Not a problem here. We only use Macs and linux. So no reason for such a policy. Such malware is a Windows problem (and Windows is a corporate problem - best thing we ever did was to get rid of it entirely as a working environment. Windows only runs at the hands of our engineers, in non-networked sandboxes on Macs, as a testbed for bug reports on our legacy Windows products.)

    Maybe I just have more important things "at hand".

    You have more important things on your mind than sexuality? Are you really old? Or crippled? Or in jail? :-)

"If I do not want others to quote me, I do not speak." -- Phil Wayne