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technical_ethics_in_coorperations final

technical_ethics_in_coorperations final - Steven Delaney...

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Steven Delaney ECS 188 March 10, 2011 Ethics in Security and Monitoring in the Workplace Privacy today is a very important topic among Americans. Due to the amount of privacy granted to us by our constitution, many people have come to covet this freedom. However, the issue becomes larger when viewing it in the workplace, as privacy is left up to the employer. Many people are unhappy with employers’ abilities to access their information and monitor their machines without notice. Legislation proposed a new law called Notice of Electronic Monitoring Act to protect employees from having their privacy invaded without their knowledge. This law has still yet to be passed but has been revisited multiple times. Without this law employers have the right to access information and documents created in the workplace without any notification. Electronic monitoring of employees computers poses problems to the point where many lawsuits are being filed. This is seen in the case Smyth v. Pillsbury Co.; Michael Smyth argued that his privacy was violated after he was discharged from his job. His employers read several e-mails he had sent in the office, even to his direct supervisor. In the emails, he threatened to "kill the backstabbing bastards" in sales management, along with other equally offensive statements. Even though Pillsbury has reiterated to its employees that their email was confidential, the court rules that he had no expectation of privacy since he was on his employers system. The court said that the company's interest in preventing "inappropriate and unprofessional" conduct outweighed Smyth's privacy rights. This is a key point in the discussion. The privacy that is entitled to Americans, is somewhat lessened in the workplace. The Fourth Amendment that protects United States citizens
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from unreasonable search and seizure does not protect workers. The FBI is continuously trying to gain access to email information for security purposes. However this is much more challenging an issue, since in a work environment an employee is paid by an employer, as well as using their systems. This being said, there are much less freedoms under the workplace condition so email information or even any other types of personal information being monitored often is seen as acceptable. The most relevant federal law, the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, prohibits unauthorized interception of various electronic communications, including e-mail. This law, however, exempts service providers from its provisions. Due to the nature of companies and how they supply email and internet access to their employees, they are included under this exemption. The only federal bill that would have required employers at least to notify workers that they were being monitored failed to come to a vote in 1993, 1995 and 2000. It seems that the court is not willing to give people too strong of rights under employers, as it is seems counterproductive to the companies, and even infringing on their rights. It is a tough situation to
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