Shell UK leads the way with new Net rules

Shell UK has started consulting with its staff over the implementation of a
new Internet policy.

It wants to clarify the company’s position on employee use of the Internet
to avoid conflict over misuse in the future.

The policy will allow staff a reasonable amount of personal use of the
company’s Web technology and Shell UK has made reassurances that it will not
excessively monitor employees, unless there is reason to do so.

The company’s approach to setting out a new Internet policy prior to the
release of the data protection code later this year has been cited as an
example of best practice by the Information Commission.

Ken Canty, employment policy adviser at Shell UK, said, "The amount of
legislation in this area has helped to increase employee awareness. Because of
this Shell has decided to clearly state and communicate the company’s policy to
staff so there is no confusion on either side."

If Shell feels it has good reason to monitor an employee then it will ask
his permission first. It will not intercept employee e-mails as permitted under
the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act as this could be seen as an invasion
of privacy.

Canty said, "We will not find out about an employee’s performance or if
they are defrauding the company by monitoring their e-mail use. We should know
about this through other means.

"Our policy is not to catch employees out but just to stop them
misusing the technology. If an employee is accused of e-mail harassment then we
just want the harassment to stop and if we inform them that we are watching
them we would expect it to do so."

Shell hopes to implement the new policy by the end of the year.

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