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EMPLOYEE & WORKPLACE PRIVACY
Employee and employer rights with respect to privacy, tracking employees, or looking at what employees post online when they're not working.




Call for ban on worker surveillance
"The final report of the Law Reform Commission has called for a new regulator to oversee the covert and overt monitoring of employees in the workplace. The report, released today, called for new laws which would require employers to seek the permission from the regulator to test workers for drugs and alcohol and to install intrusive surveillance devices."
Full story - The Age
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Oct 5 09:04:04 EDT 2005



Being Big Brother: Monitoring employees' network activity
"If you, as network administrator or IT policy maker, are charged with being Big Brother for your company, there are both legal and technological factors to consider. In this article, we'll discuss both."
Full story - ComputerWorld
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Oct 5 08:57:33 EDT 2005



Workplace privacy laws overhaul recommended
"The Victorian Law Reform Commission has proposed a range of reforms to workplace privacy laws in a report tabled in State Parliament. The report says privacy laws have not kept pace with technology in the workplace."
Full story - ABC
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Oct 5 08:52:01 EDT 2005



5 First Amendment cases on fall docket
"... Garcetti v. Ceballos, another in a series of cases on the free-speech rights of government employees. The case, to be argued Oct. 12, involves deputy Los Angeles district attorney Richard Ceballos, who was punished for revealing a flaw in a pending case to a defense attorney."
Full story - FirstAmendmentCenter
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Sep 27 14:24:53 EDT 2005



Wellness programs raise issues on privacy
"... These so-called wellness programs start by asking employees to fill out health risk assessments, including information such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure and family history of heart disease. But do they risk being penalized with higher health insurance premiums if they don't stop smoking or control their diabetes?"
Full story - Charlotte.com (reg. req.)
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Sep 27 08:29:40 EDT 2005



Crisis of faith between workers and employers: covert surveillance
"Richard Chang didn't know he was being watched. He didn't know his employer had hired investigators to access employees' PCs and take fingerprints from glass water bottles around the office. He didn't know there were linguistics experts dissecting the grammar in every memo, email and letter."
Full story - mathaba.net
Submitted by Anonymous, Sat Sep 24 10:54:00 EDT 2005



Faculty Senate unanimously rejects UNR surveillance plans
"A proposed policy on the use of surveillance cameras at the University of Nevada, Reno is going back to the drawing board after it was unanimously rejected by the Faculty Senate."
Full story - KRNV
Submitted by Anonymous, Sat Sep 17 00:38:01 EDT 2005



Superintendent Focus of Email Investigation
"While a state investigation has concluded that North Branford Superintendent Dr. Robert Wolfe violated no privacy rights when he accessed an employee's school e-mail account, Wolfe still faces legal action from the aggrieved employee... state police who initially suspected that Wolfe might have violated a law that bars unauthorized people from copying electronic mail. According to police reports, two personal e-mails including one her attorney were forwarded from her account to Dr. Wolfe's on April 11."
Full story - Courier Journal
Submitted by Anonymous, Thu Sep 15 09:10:46 EDT 2005



PC users take more risks at work than home, says survey
"39% believed that IT departments could prevent them from falling victim to threats like spyware and phishing. This belief prompted many of them to admit bolder online behaviour, such as following suspicious links."
Full story - out-law.com
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Sep 14 10:38:08 EDT 2005



Carroll: Balance needed in weighing surveillance, privacy
"As technology has ramped up over the past decade, employees throughout the workforce have become increasingly concerned about the extent to which employers have been encroaching on their privacy."
Full story - Online Athens (reg. req.)
Submitted by Anonymous, Sun Sep 11 12:26:41 EDT 2005



Is Big Brother out to get you or concerned for your safety?
"In the workplace, surveillance has been a hot topic for a number of years and it continues to be a growing concern for both management and unions."
Full story - industrialsourcebook.com
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Sep 9 17:29:32 EDT 2005



Former Lucia Mar teacher alleges invasion of privacy
"A former Lucia Mar teacher has filed a $2 million claim against the school district, alleging that an investigations firm hired through a third party violated her privacy rights by videotaping parts of her wedding and honeymoon two years ago."
Full story - San Luis Obispo
Submitted by Anonymous, Thu Sep 8 11:44:06 EDT 2005



Delta employee fired for blogging sues airline
"A former Delta Air Lines flight attendant who says she was fired weeks after she posted photos of herself in uniform on her Internet blog has filed a sexual discrimination lawsuit against the airline."
Full story - USA Today
Submitted by Anonymous, Thu Sep 8 11:34:02 EDT 2005



Secretaries sacked after cyber brawl
"TWO secretaries at one of Sydney's top law firms have been sacked after a catty email exchange that was circulated around the city's legal and financial district."
Full story - news.com.au
Submitted by Anonymous, Thu Sep 8 08:37:02 EDT 2005



Report says cameras at Neelin violated privacy
"... The Brandon School Division has accepted a report from Ombudsman Manitoba which says the school violated teacher and student privacy by putting the surreptitious surveillance cameras in place during the summer of 2002."
Full story - Brandon Sun
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Sep 6 13:05:13 EDT 2005



Big Brother is alive and well in India's call centres
"Indian call centres have adopted security measures worthy of Orwell's Big Brother to keep their Western customers happy. India has one of the leading outsourcing and call centre industries. It is worth US$ 5.7 billion and is growing at a rate of 40 per cent a year. However, it is under the cloud of security breach and fraud."
Full story - AsiaNews.it
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Sep 6 09:13:26 EDT 2005



'Big Brother'-Like Monitoring Growing at Work
"You have a right to privacy at home, and can e-mail anyone, or visit any Internet site you choose. But do you have the same legal protections at the office? Probably not, experts tell TechNewsWorld, as, increasingly, employers monitor not only e-mail, but Internet usage, and, in some cases, phone calls as well."
Full story - TechNewsWorld
Submitted by Anonymous, Mon Sep 5 12:58:41 EDT 2005



Telstra's prying habits haven't crossed the Tasman
"TelstraClear employees in New Zealand can rest assured that they are not subject to the invasions of privacy by parent company Telstra reported by The Australian. The newspaper claims Telstra has authorised the collection of personal files on its staff, including compiling secret dossiers on their sexual preferences and race, as well as their religious and personal beliefs. The paper says it obtained an internal Telstra document detailing a surveillance policy that authorises in-house investigators to spy by video and monitor email traffic, internet records and phone accounts."
Full story - Computerworld (NZ)
Submitted by Anonymous, Mon Sep 5 11:04:36 EDT 2005



Nothing to fear from new surveillance Bill
"This is the message coming from security experts, who believe that the NSW Workplace Surveillance Bill, to be released in October, does not need to invoke fear, uncertainty and doubt into employees."
Full story - idm.net.au
Submitted by Anonymous, Mon Sep 5 09:47:11 EDT 2005



Telstra can keep spy files secret
"TELSTRA staff can be refused access to personal files - potentially containing references to their sexual preferences and political and religious beliefs - if opening the dossiers is considered by management to be possibly damaging to the company."
Full story - The Australian
Submitted by Anonymous, Sun Sep 4 19:54:41 EDT 2005



Expect recruiters to Google you for "digital dirt"
"Most job hunters never even know when they've lost out on an interview because of "digital dirt." It could include your chat-room tirade on an ex-roommate's sex life or that photo of you and college buddies smoking something that's not exactly tobacco - stuff a prospective employer finds by Googling your name, stuff that causes her to scratch you off the "to call in" list."
Full story - Seattle Times
Submitted by Anonymous, Sun Sep 4 19:53:45 EDT 2005



Blabbing Bloggers Beware: What You Write Can Get You Fired
"...workers need to remember that what they write can get them fired. For example, 27 employees of the Auto Club of California were fired for blogs they posted on the popular networking site MySpace. Their blogs discussed taboo topics like co-workers' sexual orientation and weight... Many bloggers that got fired from their jobs found out the hard way," warns Bond. "Before posting anything to the net, ask your supervisor or HR person if your company has a blog policy.""
Full story - TMCnet
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Sep 2 14:50:18 EDT 2005



The Hidden Camera
"... CSOs have a lot of leeway when it comes to monitoring employees. After all, companies own the computers, telephones and electronic equipment their workers use, and have the well-established right to monitor their usage. The same is true for video surveillance - the legal system gives organizations the right to place cameras in every nook and cranny of their workplaces, with the exception of areas where employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy (bathrooms and locker rooms, for example). But many companies don't actually have a written policy in the employee handbook stating that the company has the right to freely monitor the workplace."
Full story - csoonline.com
Submitted by Anonymous, Thu Sep 1 13:28:29 EDT 2005



Telstra denies staff spying
"TELSTRA has admitted collecting sensitive information on its staff, but was forced to assure workers they were not being spied on. After The Australian obtained internal documents revealing the company could keep files on sexual preferences and religious and political beliefs, Telstra posted a memo to its 40,000 staff yesterday insisting it did not compile dirt files but admitting sensitive information could be collected "inadvertently"."
Full story - Australian IT
Submitted by Anonymous, Thu Sep 1 08:41:06 EDT 2005



New Liability Frontier: Instant Messages
"Google inc. announced plans last week to roll out a new instant messaging program designed to turn the world into "one big instant messaging network" -- a development that may leave employers wondering how responsible they are for the millions of instant messages that cross their servers. The message from lawyers: Start worrying."
Full story - Law.com
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Aug 31 07:45:26 EDT 2005



Telstra denies 'spying'
"TELSTRA has authorised the collection of personal files on its staff, including compiling secret dossiers on their sexual preferences and race, as well their religious and political beliefs. An internal Telstra document obtained by The Australian details the telcommunications giant's surveillance policy, authorising in-house investigators to spy by video surveillance and the monitoring of email traffic, internet records and telephone accounts."
Full story - The Courier-Mail
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Aug 30 16:36:13 EDT 2005



Qld scans for work porn
"QUEENSLAND public service bosses will have the legal right to monitor what employees are logging onto on the internet in a bid to prevent workers accessing pornography."
Full story - Australian IT
Submitted by Anonymous, Mon Aug 29 08:06:06 EDT 2005



When Bosses & Blogs collide
"Heather B. Armstrong disdained her "insane" coworkers, so she vented online - an act that led her to the unemployment line. Amy Norah Burch, an undergraduate coordinator at Harvard University, ranted online about her displeasure, saying she felt like bombing the campus and shooting students and faculty members. She merely considered the blog entries as a way to let off steam. Harvard didn't see it that way."
Full story - Hartford Courant
Submitted by Anonymous, Sun Aug 28 08:47:44 EDT 2005



Bloggers Beware: Firms Starting To Take Action in the Workplace
"You're sitting in the privacy of your home, messing around on your personal computer, working out your anger and frustration in a "blog," or online message board. Maybe you're just having a little fun - at a co-worker's, or even the company's, expense. So, what's the harm?"
Full story - San Diego Business Journal
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Aug 26 21:16:36 EDT 2005



As blogging grows, companies eye legal pitfalls
"As Corporate America wades into the burgeoning world of Internet Web logs, companies are being warned they could face legal hazards when employees are let loose in the free-wheeling blogosphere."
Full story - Reuters
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Aug 26 12:16:50 EDT 2005



Study Finds FBI Criminal Database Search Ineffective for Employment Background Checks (press release)
"As US employers increasingly utilize criminal background checks in their hiring process, the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) has identified one source of information that employers should avoid: the FBI Criminal Database."
Full story - PR Newswire
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Aug 26 12:15:26 EDT 2005



Are cameras spying on county workers?
"Officials with the American Civil Liberties Union and a Los Angeles County employees union raised concerns Thursday about a system of security cameras that monitors workers at their desks."
Full story - DailyNews.com
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Aug 26 12:00:38 EDT 2005



Workplace spying laws takes force in October
"Landmark legislation to prevent employers from spying on employees will come into force in NSW at the beginning of October. NSW will become the first Australian state to outlaw unauthorised surveillance of employees using technologies including video cameras, e-mail and tracking devices."
Full story - Computer World
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Aug 26 11:20:33 EDT 2005



Officers sue over use of hair drug tests
"The seven police officers swore they didn't use cocaine, yet their hair tested positive for the drug. The officers - all of them black - were promptly fired or suspended. "I was in complete and utter shock," said Officer Shawn Noel Harris. "I know that I never used drugs a day in my life." The Boston officers are now suing the police department, claiming the mandatory drug test is unreliable and racially biased. They say hair testing is unfair because drug compounds show up more readily in dark hair than light hair."
Full story - Herald Today
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Aug 24 17:10:07 EDT 2005



Digital eyes are on the office
"It is easy to shoot off a quick e-mail to your significant other when your shift just couldn't get any more boring or to photocopy your resum%E9 figuring no one will know you've just made a hundred copies. But beware: those few moments of indiscretion could mean the end of your job because the digital eyes of workplace communication are watching."
Full story - Metro
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Aug 23 16:24:16 EDT 2005



'Insider Threat' Study Reveals That Trusted Employees Are Exposing Co-Workers' Personal Information (press release)
"... The study revealed that exposure of employees' personal information and peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing are commonplace in corporate America, putting companies at serious risk."
Full story - PR Newswire
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Aug 23 16:18:29 EDT 2005



Freedom to fraternize must be upheld for workplace
"Forget it. You might lose your job. And the federal government says that's perfectly OK. A National Labor Relation Board decision earlier this summer in San Francisco upheld a business's rules against its employees' fraternizations both on and off the job. Fortunately, it's now under appeal at U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C."
Full story - The Desert Sun
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Aug 23 16:04:11 EDT 2005



One Third of Top UK companies are Still Breaking Email Privacy Laws
"A new study published by data and marketing specialists CDMS has revealed that 34% of top UK companies are not complying with the EU Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications, eighteen months after it became law in the UK in December 2003"
Full story - CRM Today
Submitted by Anonymous, Mon Aug 22 12:20:35 EDT 2005



Grocery chain adds high-tech touch
"In what labor experts say may be a first for the area, Kroger's Indiana stores are rolling out a system of using fingerprint images to clock employees in and out... "It's almost - not quite - but almost error-proof," said Jeff Golc, spokesman for Kroger... Kroger's employees' union initially tried to oppose the system, said Lew Piercey, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 3 in Indianapolis, but Indiana was one of Kroger's last districts to implement the process nationwide and grievance efforts already had been shot down."
Full story - IndyStar
Submitted by Anonymous, Tue Aug 16 16:12:52 EDT 2005



Employers must protect workers' identities
"Mark DeLaVega feels so strongly about protecting his identity, he was willing to give up his job for it. Mr. DeLaVega said he was recently terminated from MCI Inc. while training to be an order-entry representative because the task "unnecessarily exposed my Social Security number to hundreds, if not thousands, of MCI employees.""
Full story - PE.com
Submitted by Anonymous, Mon Aug 15 13:18:42 EDT 2005



Worker right or workplace danger?
"... In an effort to keep weapons out of the workplace, his employer, ConocoPhillips, is challenging state law and has forbidden workers to leave guns in their cars in company parking lots. Now, the National Rifle Association (NRA) is encouraging gun owners to stop buying ConocoPhillips gasoline."
Full story - Christian Science Monitor
Submitted by Anonymous, Sat Aug 13 18:01:38 EDT 2005



Blogging About Work? Play Nice
"There's a tsunami building, fed by a combustible mix of incredibly stupid (and apparently mean-spirited) workers, public blogs, and nervous companies. I'm referring to the growing numbers of folks fired or reprimanded in the workplace for either exposing company plans or posting negative comments about co-workers in public blogs."
Full story - InformationWeek
Submitted by Anonymous, Fri Aug 12 06:45:55 EDT 2005



Groups Warn of Privacy Risks in Employment Screening
"The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and PrivacyActivism filed comments with the U.S. Dept. of Justice August 5th, urging the agency to proceed with caution in allowing greater access by private employers and commercial data brokers to DOJ criminal history files. Our comments recount many of the real-life stories that we at the PRC have heard from individuals who have contacted us about the difficulties they have had in gaining employment because of erroneous records in employment background checks."
Full story - Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
Submitted by Anonymous, Mon Aug 8 08:24:52 EDT 2005



US Army demotes blogger
"The US military has demoted and fined a soldier for publishing "classified" information on his personal blog, a US Army spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday. Leonard Clark, a 40-year-old Arizona National Guardsman who is currently on active duty in Baghdad, dropped from the rank of specialist to private first class on July 19 and must pay the Army a fine of $820 (£463) per month for two months, according to a statement from US Central Command."
Full story - ZDNet
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Aug 3 10:05:55 EDT 2005



Sheriff's Office Sues To Identify Anonymous Authors
"TAMPA - Top brass at the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, growing weary of Web site postings they say include racist and sexist comments, have filed a lawsuit to identify the authors. Critics of the suit say the top brass are more worried about negative comments made about them. Copies of several postings were included in the lawsuit filed Friday. The suit, filed against one or more John Does it says are Hillsborough deputies, asks for an injunction to stop anonymous deputies from posting messages on www.leoaffairs.com."
Full story - AP
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Aug 3 01:43:25 EDT 2005



Fired bloggers' revenge against bosses
"When it comes to hiring and firing, the boss traditionally gets the last word. But the tables may be set to turn as disgruntled ex-employees find a powerful new voice in community forums and online diaries. Trailblazing this movement are perhaps not surprisingly the very staff who were fired for writing personal online diaries or "blogs" in the first place."
Full story - SMH
Submitted by Anonymous, Wed Aug 3 01:39:13 EDT 2005



Anti-gay essay at issue in lawsuit
"A former employee has sued Northbrook-based Allstate Insurance Company for discrimination, maintaining he was fired for writing an Internet-published essay that slams same-sex marriage and homosexual lifestyles. J. Matt Barber, 35, of Villa Park, said last week his Christian faith led him to write the essay in December 2004, on his own time and at home. His federal lawsuit alleges Allstate officials told him the following month that he was being suspended for writing the piece. He was fired three days later."
Full story - Lincolnshire Review
Submitted by Anonymous, Thu Jul 28 09:28:18 EDT 2005








Other resources on EMPLOYEE & WORKPLACE PRIVACY:
  • Freedom of Speech vs. Workplace Harassment Law
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation: Workplace Privacy




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