ACS: Personal email use is a necessity for work life

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ACS: Personal email use is a necessity for work life

The Australian Computer Society (ACS) has today lobbied the Federal Government to secure the privacy of workers in light of the Government's move to give employers power to check emails at work.

ACS president Kumar Parakala said Australia has always been stringent with privacy concerning phone tapping and urged the Federal Government to adhere to similar practices in regulating the Internet age.

“Historically Australia has had strong laws regulating interception of telephone communications and now is not the time to throw those principles out the window.

“[Instead] thought needs to be given to how they can be adapted and the appropriate balance achieved to ensure national security is not compromised but people’s reasonable expectations of privacy are not violated,” Parakala said.

While reaffirming its role as the guardian of professional ethics in the ICT sector, the ACS warned it would lobby for the appropriate public protections.

As part of today's push, the ACS called on the Federal Government to consider adopting an auditing system for random employee email checks as well as alert and logbook systems.

Furthermore, Parakala said it was timely to consider a more holistic review of laws addressing email access to reflect sophisticated new digital communication channels.

“We are living in a new era where uninterrupted access to the web and private and corporate email is part of life – particularly with younger generations," he said.

"Privacy laws must reflect this and corporate Australia should develop and implement contemporary email policies, which are in line with a work life balance."

Parakala said employers expect staff to be on email and on call via technology so allowing staff the freedom and privacy to conduct reasonable personal affairs on office equipment is part of work-life balance.
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