Legality (of monitoring)

Jonathan Morton chromi "at" cyberspace.org
Wed, 06 Jun 2001 07:04:42 +0000


>I'm just curious if anyone happens to know the rules/regulations on
>monitoring employees in Canada.

IANAL, and I'm not in Canada.  I'm just wanting to be cautious:

>Do they have to be notified that monitoring software is being used?

It'd be a very good idea to put a monitoring clause in your systems policy,
so that it is made quite clear that monitoring can be done.  I would guess
that to do otherwise would be at best unwise, and possibly illegal.  It's a
good idea to disable the pop-up menu as a first step to prevent users from
disabling VNC, and put an "anti-disabling" clause in the same policy if you
feel this is necessary.

>Do they have to be notified when someone is actively monitoring?

See above - I'd at least leave the "tray icon" or other symbol visible,
which changes colour to denote a connected viewer.  There is also an option
in recent versions of WinVNC to display a confirmation dialogue box,
although this option is more suited to a tech-support role than for
monitoring.  Advise monitoring supervisors to use the "view only" option at
the viewer end, to avoid accidentally disrupting workflow of the employee.

In general, I'd err on the side of openness.  Otherwise, as soon as the
word gets out (and it will, as soon as the first few employees are caught),
you'd be labelled as a spy and your employees wouldn't be happy with you.
For readers in educational establishments, the same goes for students,
perhaps even more so.

--------------------------------------------------------------
from:     Jonathan "Chromatix" Morton
mail:     chromi "at" cyberspace.org  (not for attachments)
big-mail: chromatix "at" penguinpowered.com
uni-mail: j.d.morton "at" lancaster.ac.uk

The key to knowledge is not to rely on people to teach you it.

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