Oz politicians to protect workers' privacy from spying bosses

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Melbourne, Feb 6 (ANI): It is no secret that a vast majority of employers monitor workers' Internet use or personal emails - a practice that goes almost completely unregulated.

However, Australian politicians are now working towards protecting workers' privacy from such bosses.

Queensland Attorney-General Cameron Dick said it was time to safeguard workers who unknowingly had their emails read and Internet use monitored by unreasonable bosses, reports News.com.au.

Companies are also monitoring social network sites and using information to sack staff even if they are posting messages at home and don't mention their employer.

Lawmakers said they are determined to stop any such abuse.

The state and federal attorneys-general have been working on a set of workplace privacy guidelines since 2009 but Dick said he would introduce his own code, regulations or law if national progress were not made soon.

"If agreement can't be reached, Queensland will then need to consider how it will proceed to address legitimate workplace privacy concerns," he told The Sunday Mail.

"These are complex issues, involving trying to find the balance between workers' privacy with the legitimate rights of employers to regulate their workplaces...," he added.

He said any new state laws or guidelines would be done with extensive consultation.

No single set of laws covers privacy or monitoring at work but some states have laws relating to information privacy and surveillance.

The ACTU in December told a federal parliamentary hearing into privacy that even a decade ago a survey by a major law firm found that 64 percent of Australian employers who responded covertly monitored the emails of employees.

However, many employers say they need the technology to stop staff stealing, sharing business secrets or embarrassing the company. (ANI)

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