Professor: Stephen Huber
This paper will discuss the ethical issues in information systems. For this assignment I have chosen to speak about the ethical issues related to employee computer monitoring versus privacy in the workplace. In my opinion I think that employees do not enjoy privacy while working on employer terminals or networks and that employer monitoring is an important protective measure for the organization.
An employee’s rights to privacy in the workplace are a very controversial and legal topic, especially in an age where computers and electronics are relied on more and more to do business. Technology has allowed employers to monitor virtually all workplace communication made by every employee using computers, which includes email and internet. Some employees may feel this is a total violation of their privacy rights, this is allowed under law. Internet access and email has become a valuable tool for both the employee and employer in a wide range of occupations. In order to manage employee and information, network security measures have been created to protect the business. When employee’s use company issued technology it is up to that business to protect confidential information and other intellectual property assets and increase employer productivity and ensure that employees are not engaging in non-business related internet activities. Personal privacy laws are usually not applicable when employees use their employer’s computer system. Emails are considered to be company property if they are sent using the company’s email or computer system. Employers have the right to monitor and view employee emails, as long as there is a business reason for doing so. A lot of employers have systems that automatically copies emails after they are sent through the system, which checks for any illegal usage or any other issues. Emails can be used in trials and as evidence to prove an employee’s conduct or any they have do wrong. I know at my current job we are monitored on what we search on the internet and certain websites are blocked from us even exploring them. Even though this measure has been created to discourage non business related behavior the question is still posed to determine if monitoring can still be unethical. Although it’s legal to monitor employees but can that infringe on an employee’s privacy. In general, the right to privacy in the workplace is conditioned on a “reasonable expectation of privacy, which is determined by the surrounding circumstances and society's or a reasonable person's views”. (Determann, 2011 p. 981) One protective security safeguard that is a typical work-related type of monitoring is the scanning of sent and received e-mails by anti-virus and anti-spam software. This software scans messages and attachments to block malicious code and inappropriate content. (Determann, 2011 p. 982) Such malicious code could expose sensitive business or client information if left unchecked. Employees also bear a responsibility to use e-mail in a responsible and business manner, sending inappropriate content to fellow employees could be viewed as harassment and lead to a hostile work environment requiring management action. I work in the Security industry and although it is not IT security, we are starting to synergize some of our networks and share information. There are a lot of things that even us being in the security department we are not allowed to do. We are treated like any other employee regardless of the information we have about employees. Another protective security safeguard is packet-sniffing software can intercept, analyze, and archive all communications on a network, including chat sessions, file sharing, and Internet browsing (Workplace Privacy, 2010, p. 9). This helps protect sensitive business or client information from misuse by employees. Malicious insider attacks pose a