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New UK/EU laws preventing personal use of laptops?

By jdemontjoie@myPlace ·
My boss in the UK has just come in to tell me that there are new laws which would allow the disciplining of remote staff using their laptops for personal use. Also, for surfing non-work related websites.

Now, I've been busy and haven't kept up with the trade press for a long time, but is the boss correct? I thought that the EU laws were moving towards allowing staff privacy of emails and web browsing?

There maybe an attempt to discipline one of the staff and I should really know this...

Can anyone educate me please?

Many thanks,


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Looked up any reference to the law?

by Cgoeckel In reply to New UK/EU laws preventin ...


Have you asked your HR about this issue? If they haven't heard anything, ask them to look into it.

And on your own time away from work see if you can find any reference to the law that your boss is referring to. It is possible that he is misinterpreting it.

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by jdemontjoie@myPlace In reply to Looked up any reference t ...

Am doing just that! I feel duty-bound to tell Boss to take it easy - Tribunals are expensive places in the UK.

What makes me more concerned is that the Internet/IT equipment policy is at odds with what I am being requested to investigate. I think I need to earn my money and put my foot down. They're not gonna like it though...

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I think I know what he's thinking.....

by gadgetgirl In reply to New UK/EU laws preventin ...

and you're right, he's wrong.

What I think he has done has read an article somewhere on the licensing talks which have been going on intermittently within the EU and UK for the past few years.

This is the greyest of grey areas, but basically there is now a question about whether a commercially purchased licence, for a company, can be used by a single user for his own ends (i.e. the hours after work, when he can be classed as a "home user" to all intents and purposes) Is this classed as a dual licence or not? Should there be a nominal fee charged for the "home user" part of the licence? This is basically what they're asking and stating. Whilst wanting to keep prices for licencing to a minimum, they are debating exactly what constitutes a licence in the first place!

I think this is what you're boss is on about. And they ARE still discussing this; they will be for years to come.

As for his initial story: I can't see how UK and EU law can control the use of a piece of company owned equipment. That is why we all have policies, which are, in point of fact, our own "Company Law", making compliance mandatory, and infractions a disciplinary offence.

You're also right as regards privacy of emails and monitoring. Under the EU Privacy & Monitoring Directives 2003, and the Regulatory and Investigatory Powers Act 2000, there is more privacy for members of staff.

Obviously, being in the UK, you realise it isn't as cut and dried as that, and exceptions apply, especially in light of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.

If you need any more info, peer mail me. I'm also in the UK (Newcastle Upon Tyne) and work as a security officer in the NHS, so ALL the above apply to my day-to-day job!

**Be very careful about him disciplining that member of staff! If he can't get the above right, he's tribunal fodder**


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Ah...I see

by Cgoeckel In reply to I think I know what he's ...

I have read bits and pieces of what is going on over there with that. So far I haven't seen anything like that here in the states.

Then again my work has a usage policy that new employees are required to read and sign about usage. 90% of our users are on desktops so they can't take those home BUT the other 10% are on laptops and are management.

Our policy states that the equipment cannot be used for personal use during their work hours. They can use it for email and news reading (clean surfing as we call it) during their lunch period or after work hours. Since we implemented that we haven't really had any issues.

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by jdemontjoie@myPlace In reply to I think I know what he's ...

Thanks GG! Glad I'm not going mad...

Will PM for more ino if that's OK?

Now then... Who knows how to tell a Director they're wrong and trying to do something very stupid, without upsetting them? LOL!

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No problem!

by gadgetgirl In reply to

but don't expect me to solve your Director problem for you!!!


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