The Sydney Morning Herald has an opinion article on the issue of individual privacy rights in the digital age:
Technology and social networking now means there is less privacy in the workplace. And that raises questions for all of us.
First we have the report that the Commonwealth Bank [in Australia] has a new draconian social media policy that requires employees to notify their manager when friends, or anyone for that matter, post negative comments about the bank on a social media page. In other words, if one of your mates slags off at the bank on Facebook, you have to tell your boss. It’s a scary policy because it expects people to have some control over things they have no control over. It’s an intrusion into people’s privacy and life outside work.
Next, we have news about a public servant from the Commonwealth Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism getting sacked after Googling the word “knockers” and looking at legal pornography on a work lap top at home. That’s despite the fact that he was doing it in his own time and doing it using his own Internet Service Provider. […]
We all know that email and Internet browsing are not secure. But what are the limits for employers? The Victorian Privacy Commissioner Helen Versey says “an employer’s use of email and Internet monitoring to monitor the personal use of email or the Internet for no purpose other than curiosity may be considered unreasonably intrusive or unfair under the Act.” […]
Can a ban on Facebook in the office work? I don’t think so. In a world where many people find that going to Facebook comes more naturally than reading a newspaper, a ban could be problematic. And banning technology is always difficult. As reported here, IT company Cisco has found that 50 per cent of end users admitted to accessing social media tools at work, in spite of company rules, at least once a week. Another 27 per cent actually changed the settings on a company device so that they could access prohibited sites or applications.