For every organization, the data in its possession is one of its most valuable assets. The ever-increasing number of class action lawsuits and media attention due to data breaches have made organizations more vigilant. Organizations today are heavily focused on data security and privacy. They devote many resources to protecting their data from external threats. However, most organizations often forget insider threats, which can be the most dangerous of all. One of the biggest insider threats comes in the form of spying on employees.
Every organization collects a huge amount of information about its customers, employees and suppliers. It can be quite tempting for employees to access this information, regardless of their purpose.
In a number of cases, spying on employees made headlines. Employee spying is often seen in hospitals, where employees can be seen spying on celebrities. For example, a medical professional was caught spying mayor of ontarioRob Ford.
What is employee spying?
Employee spying refers to the act of employees obtaining unauthorized access to data or information that is not relevant to them. Most of the time, these espionage cases involve employees seeking access to confidential business information belonging to the organization or the personal information of other employees. If employees “just look at” personal information, it is considered a breach of privacy.
Is spying on employees legal?
From a legal perspective, spying on employees can be divided into two categories. The first is when an employee spies on other employees and the second is when the employer spies on employees.
Espionage by an employer is regulated and permitted under Electronic Communications Privacy Act 1986. This law authorizes organizations to monitor the communications or activities of their employees in certain circumstances.
On the other hand, it is illegal for an employee to spy on other employees and is considered invasion of privacy. Depending on the extent of the actions, several laws and regulations can convict the employee in question and impose an appropriate sentence.
Laws and Regulations to Prevent Employee Spying
Different countries have different laws and regulations associated with employee spying and data privacy. These laws ensure that employees do not attempt to access private or sensitive information without authorization. Many laws and regulations also impose a regulatory framework for organizations and employers to store personal information and monitor their employees. Some of the key laws, regulations and frameworks related to this issue include:
Data Protection Law
It is a legal framework that defines the mechanism for protecting an individual’s personal information to ensure their autonomy. The main purpose of this law is to instill a level of trust between organizations and their employees by outlining the obligations necessary for the processing of personal data.
Duty of trust
It is a regulatory framework in Australia that instills mutual trust in organizations and their employees. The idea of this framework is to ensure that employers or organizations do not carry out any spying or surveillance activities unless necessary. They must monitor their activities in such a way as to inspire confidence in the employees.
ICO Code of Employment Practices
The set of codes defined by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the UK under the Data Protection Act 2018. This code is designed to enforce data protection law in organisations. It ensures that there is a legitimate reason for acquiring each piece of employee information.
Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)
According to this law, every Canadian organization must apply and implement physical, technological and organizational tools to protect personal information. These organizational safeguards restrict access to personal information and implement privacy training for employees.
Health Care Information Act (HIA)
This is a legislative framework in Canada that ensures that all health-related information must be strictly protected and kept confidential. Section 107(2)(b) of the Act defines the penalty for unauthorized access by employees. If convicted, the guilty employee can get probation, a fine, and community service.
Employee Anti-Espionage Framework
To prevent spying on employees, an organization must certainly adopt an effective privacy and security framework. Here is an example of an effective framework that you can apply.
- An organization must cultivate privacy environment as culture.
- He should perform regularly policy training and orientation related to espionage.
- Each employee must be well informed of the consequences to poke around.
- An organization should have a written policy and sanctions to prevent espionage and a response mechanism if this occurs.
- Every organization should pay attention to manage access restrictions employee information. He must ensure the relevance of this information for the employee concerned.
- Senior managers and senior officials of the organization must be authorized to restrict access or block particular information whenever necessary.
- Every organization must ensure that employees’ personal information is secure and inaccessible to other employees.
- An organization must maintain an access log to keep a record of each piece of information or file consulted by each employee.
- An organization should proactively use monitoring tools. They should audit access logs and other services involved in monitoring.
- The organization can use a unique user ID for each employee and their digital signature on each file which is accessed.
- They should define “normal” access and create a distinction to detect unauthorized access.
- Organizations should investigate reports that indicate the occurrence of employee spying.
- When a proactive approach does not work, the organization must choose other alternatives appropriately.
Monitoring the workplace is essential!
Employee spying is a growing problem that can be catastrophic not just for an organization, but for everyone associated with it. An organization should carefully implement certain tools and services outside of traditional methods like CCTV to prevent eavesdropping. There are tools available that can help you manage access to sensitive information and keep tabs on what information is viewed by whom.
Every organization can make security awareness training for employees to ensure that they have the necessary knowledge to secure their personal information. You can use security awareness tools such as ThreatCop raise employee awareness and train them in the basics of data security and confidentiality.
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Spying on corporate employees: how to deal with this threat? appeared first on Kratikal Blogs.
*** This is a syndicated blog from the Kratikal Blogs Security Bloggers Network written by Kumar Shantanu. Read the original post at: https://www.kratikal.com/blog/employee-snooping/