Internet Privacy Laws

Internet Privacy Laws: An Essay

Privacy is defined as: the state of being free from intrusion or disturbance in one’s private life or affairs: the right to privacy.

Yet the internet privacy laws seem pretty hazy in comparison to this bold and easily defined statement. In the media, especially on the internet, there is a feel that everything goes. This is fine up until you discover disclosures on the internet that are about you!

This is especially the case in chat rooms and social networking sites. These are in common use and nearly everyone enters into these at some point or another. These are secure so long as you use the privacy profile setting and only allow your “friends” to view the comments and discussions you are entered in.

If however you decide to comment in an ill mannered way about your employer, and some how it gets back to them, this is when the issue of privacy on the internet really comes into play.

In such cases, employers have sacked their worker who has made inappropriate comments via the internet, whether on social networking sites or in chat rooms.


Often then there is a tribunal with the employee claiming unfair dismissal as they feel they have had their privacy breached.

This all seems pretty straight forward right? An employer should not be able to spy upon their work force. Yet this is not the case. As I said, the law is rather hazy on this subject. This is because there is no case which addresses public privacy law directly.

So what is the rule of thumb? Basically it is common sense. If you are happy to post it and let a large amount of people view it, and let’s face it, not all of these will be close friends, then you are pretty much allowing it to be public knowledge. This comes down to whether or not the user has a reasonable expectation of privacy. And guys, it is common sense.

If you are talking about a private matter in the staff room, you would expect people to pass this information on; the same applies for your internet usage.

When joining social networking sites check the privacy setting and select the option that has the tightest restriction. Even with this in place, be cautious of what you chose to post.

Don’t be foolish and post to your networking sites or any forums during working hours and don’t use your employer’s computers to do this – even on breaks! This in itself can remove any of the privacy settings you have installed.

Common sense will be your best tool when considering internet privacy, there is a fundamental law that every human has the right to a private life, yet this is indistinct as to when the private life starts and work life stops.

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