Legal Implications was(Re: Announce: MailScanner-Console-0.1)

Quentin Campbell Q.G.Campbell at NEWCASTLE.AC.UK
Wed Jun 18 08:07:10 IST 2003

> -----Original Message-----
> From: kfliong [mailto:kfliong at WOFS.COM] 
> Sent: 18 June 2003 04:08
> Subject: Re: Legal Implications was(Re: Announce: 
> MailScanner-Console-0.1)
> It's impossible to monitor mails for spamming and virus if 
> The From, To and Subject are all considered private information.

Not at all.

It is possible to monitor e-mail in the workplace in the UK for spamming
and viruses. The general approach that you must follow is set out in
"The Employment Practices Data Protection Code - Part3: Monitoring at

This Code of Practice (CoP) says, among other things, that automated
monitoring and detection of viruses and spam is preferred; that is,
where the content is not seen by anyone else other than the sender and
the recipient. Thus using MailScanner + SpamAssassin + A-V products when
all are properly configured is perfectly legal in the UK. 

What you cannot do is randomly snoop on private e-mail and telephone
calls by your employees just because you (the employer) think you have
that right as boss to do it. As Julian has pointed out, the European
Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) guarantees certain rights for
individuals. Article 8 of the ECHR in particular is relevent here
because it says that "Everyone has the right to respect for his private
and family life, his home and his correspondence".

The Data Protection Act 1998, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act
2000 and the Human Rights Act 1998 all give effect in UK law to the
rights and freedoms guaranteed under the ECHR.  For example the CoP
referred to above on monitoring e-mail, etc, in the workplace is issued
under Section 51 of the Data Protection Act. 

PHONE: +44 191 222 8209    Computing Service, University of Newcastle
FAX:   +44 191 222 8765    Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, NE1 7RU.
"Any opinion expressed above is mine. The University can get its own." 

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