Με αφορμή το παρακάτω άρθρο που δημοσιεύεται στο HBR θα ήθελα να ξεκινήσουμε συζήτηση για το θέμα αυτό. Ξεκινάει έτσι μια προσπάθεια για ενεργή συμμετοχή στο blog. Τα σχόλιά σας είναι ευπρόσδεκτα για ένα θέμα που πιστεύω ισχύει και σε πολλές επιχειρήσεις στην Ελλάδα.
"" In the last five years, Londoners have come under some of the most intense public surveillance in the world. CCTV cameras monitor our every move, telephone calls from street phones and cell phones can be intercepted, SMS and emails can be examined, and we can be followed and put under surveillance by government bodies.
While most of us accept that greater surveillance is a fact of life, given the terrorist threat, there is growing disquiet over the extent to which our lives are being scrutinised. Last week, there was a huge national debate on the subject when it was revealed that a Muslim politician had been bugged during his meetings with a constituent. A few days later, Gordon Brown, the Prime Minister, approved the use of evidence gained from phone tapping and email intercepts to be used in court following an independent recommendation
One of the really interesting points about this debate was the resounding silence from the business community. While human rights groups criticised the unacceptable intrusions into our private lives, and lawyers, politicians and police debated their public roles and responsibilities, no business voices joined the debate.
Why is this? Most of us spend roughly eight hours a day at work, so why do we know so little about our rights and responsibilities regarding monitoring at work? Have any of us asked what information is gathered covertly about us? In the U.K., the Data Protection Act gives us the right to read personal information stored in files: companies can be punished for failing to protect such data—as Marks and Spencer discovered last month when a laptop containing the personal information of 26,000 employees was stolen. But what are our rights regarding CCTV film footage, audio recordings or electronic messaging at work?
Liberty, the independent U.K. human rights group, partly answered this question recently. It advised that employers were allowed to monitor staff through CCTV so long as the use of cameras was "necessary and proportionate to management needs"; but it also said staff should complain through their union if they felt the use of monitoring systems was intrusive or invaded their privacy.
But what exactly constitutes 'intrusive'? A few years ago, a colleague warned me never to discuss sensitive issues in the lift or in a certain corner of the office as I would be filmed and recorded. She said confidential discussions should be held in meeting rooms or, possibly, in the ladies' rest room if none were available. At the time I thought her paranoid, but I am now wondering whether meeting rooms are as private as I'd expected.
One thing's for sure: The market for surveillance devices is booming. One U.K. retailer of surveillance and counter-surveillance products explains why, giving examples of situations where such devices might be useful. For the corporate world, there is the hypothetical example of a large company in the midst of a hostile takeover which might "want to ensure mobile phone conversations are secure or find out if the boardroom is bugged. They may also want to use mobile phone encryption devices or counter-surveillance products or services".
That almost sounds plausible, yet it makes me feel uneasy to think where all this might lead: bugging company phones and intercepting emails? Recording and filming conversations in the office for scrutiny by management? Giving staff bugged cellphones? Tracking staff during their working hours?
What do you think? Have you ever been concerned by security cameras at work? Do you ever think twice before speaking freely on the phone or in your office? Do you have personal experience or knowledge of intrusive monitoring policies at work? Are our human rights being eroded? And what kind of debate do we need if we are to be subject to ever higher levels of scrutiny? ""