Discuss about the Employee Email Privacy.
There has been big legal hustle for rights of employee email privacy in organizations. The increment of dependency on computers and technology for every work in organizations has added to the menace of email restrictions in the premises of workplace. The advancement in technology has provided employers the power to check the mails of employees as they can have the power to indulge into electronic mails in the name sake of business activities and functions. Moreover, when this act seems to be unjust, it is actually allowed by the law of most countries. Other activities such as messages and conversations of employees may some privacy but the prowl continues. (Brandeisky, 2015)
Null Hypothesis: H0=Email privacy is useful for the business organization.
Alternate Hypothesis: H1=Email privacy is not useful for the business organization.
The level of privacy in emails has deteriorated to huge extent. One should not expect the email conversations in business world to be private as even the judiciary system support employers. There are several organizations which have been monitoring mails of their employees in regular basis. Thus, the present article helps one to understand the concept of email privacy and the ways which can help one to handle such situations in the organization. The two hypotheses selected show the different facets of the term email privacy. (Guerin, 2016)
The technology has played an important role in helping organizations to get a hold of their employees and their daily communication in office. Devices to track electronic mails are available and many organizations make good use of these devices. As the per the survey which was conducted by AMA (American Management Association), companies have used these devices and trackers for firing employees who have misused their business emails. More than 50 percent of organizations in United States are using these types of software. Major companies in the business world argue to the fact that such acts of vigilance are performed to stop the issues related to legal liability. Emails are documents which have validity and have to produce by any employer at the time of court trials. Many organizations have faced difficulties wherever a lawsuit was filed against them due to an employee email. So, in these cases the honourable judiciary system support the act of interference by employers if there is a business intention linked to it. Thus, it proves that emails are not private. (Chory et al., 2016)
Email privacy wars are not constrained just into the premises of company campuses but have moved to different level where large email providers such as Microsoft are backing the plea. Recently, there was a court trial in United States between Microsoft and federal bureau of United States. The federal authority wanted the technological companies of United States to provide access on emails of the customers which are stored overseas. Ultimately, the court ruled a decision in favour of companies. Federal system cannot force companies to have control the information of their customers which have been stored on servers on different locations. The argument that was put forward and supported by technological companies were the control would create an issue on the privacy of citizens of United States. The decision in the favour of government would have provided control to foreign agents to have access over information of citizens of United States. (Mishra & Crampton, 1998)
Several cases have been registered against the use of emails in indiscreet methods and it has been found that laws regarding this topic are much vague according to the role of electronic mail and internet at organizations. Data protection act which was ruled out in 1998 supports the requirements of employers regarding snooping into mails. Hence, too much of relaxation to employer's side has increased the havoc of being tracked at any time. For example, employers can track any information which has been accessed by employees on their workstation. Moreover, due to configuration of official email accounts on personal devices would actually provide a chance for the employers to control personal contacts. Hence, too much of authority is provided to employers and confidentiality of employees' information should be kept in mind while amending laws. Certain efforts such as using different technologies for encrypting messages and mail conversations might be helpful against malicious activities within and outside the organization. Further, system should be securely designed to eliminate loopholes of intrusion or snooping activities. These acts will be beneficial to employees and guard their privacy regarding email conversations. (Peterson, 2015)
The second hypothesis states that email privacy cannot be practiced properly by organizations. There are guidelines which are provided by the company related to the usage of emails in office premises. Organizations say that control on emails is put on employees to restrict legal issues. Surveillance of email accounts is valid till employers meeting the criteria of impact assessment. (Muhl, 2003)
Reasons and evidence to support your position stated in your hypothesis statement. Filtering of messages is performed to monitor emails. Privacy laws do not protect employees from being monitored by their employers. Electronic mails are the property of organization whenever they are sent through workstations. There is a sense of business purpose from employer's side when monitoring of business mails is performed. (employment, 2016) Moreover, factors such as productivity, legal liabilities and other related problems force employers to have an eye on their employees system.
Confidentiality does not prevail only to employees but there are various confidential information which are being transmitted in an organization through business mails. In such cases, employers are obliged to monitor those internal and external transmissions in their organization to secure their businesses. Further, there have been many examples in which the whole process was taken back from the organization by their clients for the sake of data confidentiality. Hence, business providers are very careful about monitoring of emails. (theguardian, 2016) Emails are prime evidences in cases whenever there is a clash between employers and employees. Moreover, it can be used as proof against both employers and employees to prove their wrongdoing or misconduct. Other trackers used by employers on their employees are website trackers to monitor the movement of employees on internet, blocking websites for employees for causes related to business growth, and also limiting the usage of some websites. These types of restrictions are assigned by organization to secure business processes. (Walker et al., 2007)
Therefore, due to plenty of restrictions in workplace, it is better to eliminate chances of getting caught by employers. Moreover, there are some codes of ethics which are discussed by Australian Computer Society. (society, 2016) They include giving first place to public interest above sectional, business or personal interest, taking quality of life into account, honesty, and competence. It also believes in professionalism and professional development.
Thus, it can be said that due to the current situations in business world, email privacy cannot be implemented effectively and thus, the alternate hypothesis cannot be fulfilled or executed. Hence, it gives support to the null hypothesis that email privacy does not support in the development of business organizations. (entrust, 2006) Restrictions have to be mandated and followed in business premises which would be beneficial for the organization and employees in the long run.
There are certain steps which can be performed while working in offices. Simple steps such as limiting informal message conversation (messages send to family and friends) should be followed. Moreover, communication which may seem as unwelcomed or bigoted messages can be eliminated. In this manner, employees working in organization would have an insight about communications in the workplace. But there should be a balance between the privileges of employers about monitoring employee's private data. Legal help is always an option for the employees who are distressed and victimized by their employers.
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Chory, R.M., Vela, L.E. & Avtgis, T.A., 2016. Organizational Surveillance of Computer-Mediated Workplace Communication: Employee Privacy Concerns and Responses. Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal, 28(01), pp.23-43.
employment, 2016. Privacy in the Workplace: Overview. [Online] Available at: https://employment.findlaw.com/workplace-privacy/privacy-in-the-workplace-overview.html [Accessed 24 2016august].
entrust, 2006. Encrypting Email with Your Eyes Closed. entrust.
Guerin, L., 2016. Email Monitoring: Can Your Employer Read Your Messages? [Online] Available at: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/email-monitoring-can-employer-read-30088.html [Accessed 24 august 2016].
Mishra, J.M. & Crampton, S.M., 1998. Employee monitoring: Privacy in the workplace? S.A.M. Advanced Management Journal, 63(03), pp.04-11.
Muhl, C.J., 2003. Workplace e-mail and Internet use:employees and employers beware. Monthly Labor Review.
Peterson, A., 2015. Microsoft just won a huge legal victory on email privacy. [Online] Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2016/07/14/microsoft-just-won-a-huge-legal-victory-about-email-privacy/ [Accessed 24 august 2016].
society, a.c., 2016. ACS code of ethics. [Online] acs Available at: https://www.acs.org.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/7835/Code-of-Ethics.pdf [Accessed 24 august 2016].
theguardian, 2016. Filter tips. [Online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2007/jun/25/workandcareers [Accessed 24 august 2016].
Walker, M.W.A.L., Coopman, S.J. & Hart, J.L., 2007. Workplace Surveillance and Managing Privacy Boundaries. Management Communication Quarterly, 21(02), pp.172-200.