Published: Mon, Mar 1st, 2004 by Michael Robinson

A change to the Crimes Amendment Act came into force in late 2003. It is now an offence to intercept private communications or disclose any information which results from an action, without the consent of the person whose communication is being intercepted. This includes emails and faxes.

The effect of this amendment is that if an employer chooses to monitor an employee’s emails and/or network activities without the employee’s consent, such monitoring may be illegal. It is our recommendation that existing employment agreements and in-house policies relating to each employee’s access to the Internet and email should be amended to include the following clause:

"The employee consents to any monitoring carried out by the employer or by contractors hired by the employer of network activity. The employee understands and consents to monitoring of the employee’s access to the Internet and email."

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