Experts are warning that there are areas of apparent conflict between the Human Rights Act (HRA), introduced last week, and the new Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIP), which gives businesses the scope to monitor employee communications on corporate-owned networks, down to dismantling PCs if necessary.
However, under the HRA, employees have a right to privacy that their employer must respect.
The two regulations clash, experts say, when a worker uses a corporate-owned network but not its server, for example when working from home or using a web-based e-mail service at work which is run from a third party’s servers.
Matt Tomlinson, business development director at MIS Corporate Defence Solutions, told AccountancyAge.com sister site vnunet.com: ‘There is a contradiction between the two pieces of legislation for remote users and for web-based email. Legal advice suggests this is a loophole aggrieved employees could use to sue their employers.
‘I suggest firms update their polices again to state that all accounts accessed through organisation-owned equipment, whether using organisation-hosted mail servers or not, may be monitored. Whilst this improves business policy it may not give 100% protection, and may not hold water in court. ‘It will take case law, over the next two years, for a clear definition of what is required to emerge. However, whilst what I’ve suggested may not be 100% watertight, past court decisions have favoured businesses with clearly stated policies of this nature.’
Tomlinson went on to say that there is still an opportunity for the loophole to be closed.
‘There is a window during the consultation period the government is allowing to discuss the proposed codes of practice on implementing the RIP Act.
This consultation period, which ends on 17 November, is an opportunity for legal/human resource departments to make their points known and close this loophole on remote users and personal email accounts,’ he said.
If businesses do not take cyber security seriously in their business planning regulators may do it for them, the ICAEW has warned
The Financial Reporting Council has issued guidance regarding the annual reporting of 1,200 large and smaller listed companies. The letter highlighted the key issues and improvements that can be made in the 2016 reporting season
Deloitte's north-west Europe foray; BDO, Smith & Williamson investment paths; Shelley Stock Hutter; and Wilkins Kennedy discussed by editor Kevin Reed on our Friday Afternoon Live broadcast
Company bosses are considering relocating operations or headquarters away from the UK following the country's decision to leave the European Union