The European Court for Human Rights has ruled in favor of a woman who sued the British government after her boss in her public-sector job monitored her personal phone calls and internet use while she was at work. While the decision does set some precedent that monitoring employees' personal communications, even if done on work time over work equipment, contravenes the EU's human-rights laws, it also makes it clear that it's only in certain circumstances. Basically, to avoid legal problems, an employer has to have a policy covering acceptable use of its systems and equipment, and that policy has to say that employees' communications could be monitored if it wants to spy on employees' communications. While it seems a little strong to call this a human-rights violation, and it would seem wise to err on the side of caution and assume your employer can or will monitor what goes across their networks, the court's decision doesn't seem unreasonable. If employers want to waste their time trying to find all that lost productivity by spying on their employees, some disclosure would probably be appreciated. If only all potential human-rights violators would be so courteous.
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