Universal Human Rights and Employee Privacy: Questioning Employer Monitoring of Computer Usage

Universal Human Rights and Employee Privacy: Questioning Employer Monitoring of Computer Usage

Stephen Coleman (Charles Sturt University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-456-9.ch015
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Abstract

This chapter discusses the monitoring of employee e-mail and Internet usage in the context of the international nature of most modern business. Its three main aims are: (1) to highlight the problems involved in discussing an essentially philosophical question within a legal framework, and thus to show that providing purely legal answers to an ethical question is an inadequate approach to the problem of privacy on the Internet; (2) to discuss and define what privacy in the medium of the Internet actually is; and (3) to apply a globally acceptable ethical approach of international human rights to the problem of privacy on the Internet, and thus to answer the question of what is and is not morally permissible in this area. It concludes that the monitoring of an employee’s e-mail and Internet usage is, in the vast majority of cases, an unjustified infringement of the employee’s right to privacy.

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