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Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

California Closer To Making Employers Tell Employees They're Spying On Them

from the building-trust-in-the-workplace dept

The California Senate has now approved legislation that would require companies to tell their employees if they're monitoring their emails, web usage or location. It's a bit sad that we actually need a law to say this, as any employer that's worth working for should at least let their employees know if they intend to monitor their emails. At first I was wondering who would be against such a bill, but the article lists out a bunch of organizations: the California Chamber of Commerce, California Manufacturers & Technology Association, American Staffing Association, California Manufacturers & Technology Association and the Motion Picture Association of America. Basically, a bunch of business organizations that apparently want to reserve the right to spy on their employees without telling them that they may do it. Note that this law doesn't even require the employer to tell the employee when it's happening - just to give them a one time note when they start employment saying that they might, one day, monitor communications. This isn't a particularly high bar. Also, what does the MPAA have to do with this? I can (sort of) understand all the business associations in their own shortsighted way worried about adding burdens to employers, but the MPAA?

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  • identicon
    Richard Parker, 25 May 2004 @ 8:06pm

    No Subject Given

    An article from The Christian Science Monitor titled "America's new cubicle pirates find their loot online" offers some clues to why the MPAA is interested in torpedoing any legislation that conceivably might add an additional burden to employers who wish to monitor employee use of the Internet. From the article it seems clear that the MPAA is seeking to strong-arm employers into aiding their fight against file-sharing.
    It seems likely that they are interested in using either new legislation or threats of liability under existing legislation to convince employers to monitor their employees for distribution of copyrighted material. They've apparently decided that any legislation that, even remotely, might make companies less likely to agree to implement such monitoring is not in their interest.

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