Amendment to code removes need for police

Companies will no longer have to involve the police if they want to covertly
monitor employees, under the latest data protection draft monitoring code
published last week.

The Information Commission’s previous draft stated that employers would need
to involve police in all covert monitoring, but its latest version of the code
published on its website gives organisations much more freedom on the issue.

Under the new draft organisations only have to inform the police when
covertly monitoring staff in areas they have "a high expectation of
privacy", such as toilets or individuals’ offices.

The commission has also introduced a requirement for employers to carry out
an ‘impact assessment’ before any staff monitoring to determine if it is
necessary and how it should be carried out.

The CBI believes the code still does not give employers enough rights when
covert monitoring.

Legal adviser at the CBI Susannah Haan said: "Is a glass wall a private
office? Even a private office is part of the business."

David Smith, assistant commissioner at the Information Commission, said the
changes to the draft followed concerns highlighted by employers on the issue.

"Members at the consultation said even for serious criminal offences
they may want to deal with them internally," he said.

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