College secretary wins spying case against her employer

I was intrigued to read in the latest Computing magazine about a legal secretary in Wales that successfully took on her employer, as well as the government, over monitoring in the workplace.

The case stems from her allegation that a senior member of staff at the college where she worked secretly monitored her personal communications for up to 18 months without her consent.

The European Court of Human Rights found that her employers violated her right to privacy when they logged details of her personal phone calls, analysed her Web surfing and tracked her email.

Lynette Copland, who is employed at Carmarthenshire College, sued her employer for breaching the Human Rights convention and was awarded £2,100 in damages,

What's interesting about the case from a legal perspective is that Copland's personal communications were monitored during 1998 and 1999 when there was no general right to privacy in English law.

The Human Rights Act of 1998 - which came into force in 2000 - along with the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act of 2000, now protect everyone's privacy rights, so employee e-snooping is now illegal...