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E-mail policing may fall foul of the law


Our colleagues at LawZone report that employers are increasingly monitoring their staff's e-mails. This is done usually in an attempt to halt the carnage done by viruses such as the "Melissa" virus or in an attempt to prevent obscene or defamatory material being sent or received. Additionally, some firms are watching e-mails in an attempt to prevent confidential material escaping.

The new Human Rights Act implemented this year will however cast doubt on the legality of this form of policing. Article 8 of the Human Rights Act states that, "Everyone has the right to respect for private and family life, his home and his correspondence".

Most company policies state thet the company e-mail system is not private and is subject to company scrutiny which aims to discourage misuse. This warning might still not be enough to avoid breaching an individual's right to privacy under the Act.


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