Naked At Work

Pssst! The boss is watching

the legalities involved in governing and protecting privacy. He comments on how the very definition of what is private and what isn’t changes from generation to generation and from person to person, making it that much more challenging to form rules and regulations around it. He makes a specific example of 9/11 and how war and terrorism has changed things even more.

Congress has passed a variety of laws addressing the hiring, retention, and personal rights of the employee over the last 70 years or so. Lane talks about specific constitutional protections and laws regarding limits on workplace surveillance. The National Labor Relations Act for the protection of union workers was passed in 1935 and The Electronic Communications Privacy Act was passed in 1986. The ECPA put parameters around what kind of surveillance can be used, and when. Modern technology, like e-mail and video conferencing, is causing lawmakers to closely re-review the ECPA’s policies.

The Naked Employee raises an important point: If we value personal privacy and don’t want to lose it, we have to find a happy medium that doesn’t encroach upon the rights of the worker but still fulfills the needs of the company–an issue Lane feels that Congress should address, and one that seems to grow more urgent with every new technological development.

For more information on privacy in the workplace, check out the following Websites:
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)www.epic.org/privacy/workplace
Privacy Rights Clearinghousewww.privacyrights.org

EFF “Privacy — Workplace Monitoring & Employer/Employee Privacy Conflicts” Archive www.eff.org/Privacy/Workplace

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