Förderverein Informationstechnik und Gesellschaft
[Tendenz: Jedem sein privat-Echelon. Nicht nur fuer die Phono-Industrie. --AHH]
BBC News Online, Thursday, 18 February 1999, 17:38 GMT
'ALARMING' THREAT TO WORKPLACE PRIVACY
An increasing number of companies are spying on their staff, according to a new report.
The Institute of Employment Rights has said surveillance techniques are being used on the workforce and are an "alarming" threat to the privacy of workers. It said that intrusive surveillance can lead to insecurity and stress and can even prevent workers organising themselves collectively.
The Institute complained of cases involving:
Interception of e-mails, Bosses listening in to call-centre workers to check they are being "chirpy", The use of computers to count key strokes, Companies using infra-red transmitters to record the exact movements of workers.
The report said workers at a London hospital discovered surveillance cameras had been secretly placed in staff locker rooms.
Ed Sweeney, general secretary of the Banking, Insurance and Finance Union, said: "We have seen the steady growth in new methods of surveillance at work which in our experience leads to increased stress among the workforce."
The Institute's director Carolyn Jones said one problem was that newer employers such as call-centres would not allow the creation of unions let alone negotiate work practices.
"Although the proposed recognition laws may offer a foot in the door to unions, we can foresee great difficulties if they attempt to recruit people into the union while the employer watches them on closed circuit TV."
BP'S HIDDEN MICROPHONES
The oil company BP has temporarily switched off secret microphones at its petrol stations after staff complaints, according to a newspaper report. The company had set up 148 hidden microphones across the UK to record customers' conversations and, without their knowledge, their workers. Despite the resignation of two members of staff who only found out about the hidden devices after an engineer refurbished a service station in Ayr, the company still plans to install them into all of its 1,600 petrol stations.
A BP spokesman told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that the microphones could help identify robbers who sometimes call each other by name during hold-ups. But one of BP's employees who resigned over the issued told the paper she was appalled. "The public have a right to know if their privacy is being invaded," she said
Copyright 1999 BBC.