Company email monitoring 'could violate human rights'

01-08-2006

British companies could be violating employees' human rights by placing strict email monitoring policies into place in the workplace.

And if they are found to be in breach of human rights laws, the firms and businesses could face significant lawsuits, according to a new report.

The study by security company Proofpoint revealed that up to half of the companies in Britain could be abusing the human rights of their staff by monitoring their email.

A poll conducted by the company found that 38 per cent of large firms said they employed someone to read their employees' emails, while around 60 per cent said they conducted regular audits of their outbound communications.

"It is legitimate for a company to monitor outbound email but clandestine Big Brother voyeurism is illegal," said Mark Hughes, managing director of Proofpoint for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

"If you don't make your staff fully aware of how and why you monitor their messages, you are snooping on them. About 44 per cent of UK companies may be at risk because they are simply not doing a good enough job of telling their employees about their email policies."



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