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Old 13.12.2007, 12:58
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Laws on employee Internet usage?

Hi all,

By any chance, does anyone know on here what the situation is with companies monitoring/restricting employees Internet surfing?

Where I work we will probably have to implement this in the near future, but I don't currently know what the rules are in Swiss concerning this level of monitoring.

Any advice or links welcome.

thanks,
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Old 13.12.2007, 13:02
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Re: Laws on employee Internet usage?

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Hi all,

By any chance, does anyone know on here what the situation is with companies monitoring/restricting employees Internet surfing?

Where I work we will probably have to implement this in the near future, but I don't currently know what the rules are in Swiss concerning this level of monitoring.

Any advice or links welcome.

thanks,
There are no restrictions on monitoring as long as there is a disclaimer stating that internet usage may be monitored. Restricting internet usage is at company discretion and without notice. Email content monitoring is however not allowed.
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Old 13.12.2007, 13:08
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Re: Laws on employee Internet usage?

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There are no restrictions on monitoring as long as there is a disclaimer stating that internet usage may be monitored. Restricting internet usage is at company discretion and without notice. Email content monitoring is however not allowed.
Interesting. I know of a company sporting a big bull as its logo that does it on a very regular basis.
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Old 13.12.2007, 13:15
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Re: Laws on employee Internet usage?

Yes, I worked at a company who reserved the right to monitor email content. The primary objective was to archive all emails. They could also be retrieved and read if the company so desired.

So what constitutes monitoring. The potential actively monitor?

There was also a spam and profanity filter in place. Technically, if emails with bad language were filtered out, there is no limit to what could be filtered.

All places I have worked have disclaimers in place for surfing. Also it is generally against policy to surf for your own entertainment. There are a lot of webwashers and web filters in place.

It doesn't stop anyone, but I wouldn't go browsing through astalavista.
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Old 13.12.2007, 13:38
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Re: Laws on employee Internet usage?

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Yes, I worked at a company who reserved the right to monitor email content. The primary objective was to archive all emails. They could also be retrieved and read if the company so desired.

So what constitutes monitoring. The potential actively monitor?

There was also a spam and profanity filter in place. Technically, if emails with bad language were filtered out, there is no limit to what could be filtered.

All places I have worked have disclaimers in place for surfing. Also it is generally against policy to surf for your own entertainment. There are a lot of webwashers and web filters in place.

It doesn't stop anyone, but I wouldn't go browsing through astalavista.
There are different things here. If you have a profanity filter in place this is an automated mechanism that reads the mail and checks it for bad language. It does not interrupt the flow of mail nor does it "open the mail" for reading. Furthermore it is not a person!

The relevant law (StGB 321 ter) starts with whomever ie a person. It does however also state that through a third party gives the possibility... which would imply if an engineer was to install the software they are liable!

Anyway the penalty is up to 3 years in prison or a fine.

If a company actually allows for reading via monitoring of mail then they are leaving themselves open for big problems - at least in Switzerland (and Germany and France and Hungary and Norway and...)
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Old 13.12.2007, 14:11
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Re: Laws on employee Internet usage?

Ok thanks for all the replies. We are only looking at the web side of this...we already store and archive all emails, although currently we have plans to read/monitor the contents.

Now I guess the next question is...anyone got any recommendations for products/services to do the web monitoring?

Messagelabs is what springs to mind immediately for me, because we already use them for their virus/spam filtering. Anyone heard anything on their web monitoring product?

Thanks again,
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Old 13.12.2007, 15:11
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Re: Laws on employee Internet usage?

Does anyone else think it is funny to ask people who are possibly surfing the Internet at work... How to monitor people surfing the Internet at work???

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Old 13.12.2007, 15:22
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Re: Laws on employee Internet usage?

Bluecoat and Websense are leading companies in this area - you can also sell appliances like those made by Finjan as "protecting the userbase".

Are you trying to plug holes or just improve present levels of security and monitoring? Will you be blocking certain websites?
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Old 13.12.2007, 15:35
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Re: Laws on employee Internet usage?

Eire...fair point there but I work in IT, and this is research...does beg the questions of "who watches the watchers" though...

This has come from a request from uppper management, more with a mind of being able to tell users that we are monitoring, so we hopefully don't get any problems of users looking at sites they shouldn't do in work and offending others, therefore causing the company possible legal issues.

I don't think they will want to block anything in particular, rather act as a deterent.

Thanks Lob, I will check those 2 companies out.
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Old 13.12.2007, 15:39
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Re: Laws on employee Internet usage?

If you just want to monitor (and potentially cache) then you have Squid and MS ISA to consider too - one free (IIRC) and one might be under licence if you're big on MS.
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Old 20.09.2020, 14:00
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Re: Laws on employee Internet usage?

I realize this is a very old thread, but hopefully someone will see it.
I recently had an issue where my managers manager told one my colleagues to look at our email log for all emails sent to me over a specific period of time. He was looking specifically for an email about a cancelled order which I told him I did not receive. The order was for a computer cable. While my colleague could not see the actual email, he could see who all of the emails were from, the date and the subject.
He could also see everything that I sent or was sent to me (subject, to/from, date and time).

Is this legal in Switzerland? I was told it isn't.
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Old 20.09.2020, 17:18
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Re: Laws on employee Internet usage?

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I realize this is a very old thread, but hopefully someone will see it.
I recently had an issue where my managers manager told one my colleagues to look at our email log for all emails sent to me over a specific period of time. He was looking specifically for an email about a cancelled order which I told him I did not receive. The order was for a computer cable. While my colleague could not see the actual email, he could see who all of the emails were from, the date and the subject.
He could also see everything that I sent or was sent to me (subject, to/from, date and time).

Is this legal in Switzerland? I was told it isn't.
I'd be surprised if such logs weren't legal. When i had an email issue with my domain, I asked specifically for my ISP to send me the logs to see if I'd missed anything important. Who told you it isn't legal?

I'm intrigued. Why is your boss getting exercised over a, what?, 20 franc cable?
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Old 20.09.2020, 20:08
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Re: Laws on employee Internet usage?

The differance is that, in your example, it was your domain. This is a company, where information is supposed to be private. My understanding is that we can look at the logs to see if something happened. For example, a new user was added. But not to snoop on email, which is basically what this is.

As to why he had this done, he has decided he doesn't trust me. Everyone in my group agrees that this is irrational behavior. As you wrote, this is a 20 franc cable that was needed, but not urgently.
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Old 20.09.2020, 20:16
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Re: Laws on employee Internet usage?

AFAIK the data on the company’s servers and/or accounts is the company’s. You have no right nor expectation of privacy.

This includes if/when you use your company’s equipment for personal use.
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Old 20.09.2020, 21:24
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Re: Laws on employee Internet usage?

Checking the logs to debug email problems is common practice for sysadmins, usually this involves matching a know user sending an email at a specified time, particularly when a user complains that "I can't write to X" or "Y can't write me".
I would be surprise if this constitutes a privacy violation, since it is done "for the purpose of providing a service" or so to say. And in this cases the actual content of the e-mail is not relevant and not inspected.

Filtering is also common practice - think of antispam programs.
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Old 21.09.2020, 12:43
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Re: Laws on employee Internet usage?

Ordinance 3 of the employment act makes it illegal to use systems which are designed to observe employees' behaviour.


https://www.edoeb.admin.ch/edoeb/en/...veillance.html


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Clearly, this is another area where the question of the proportionality of the planned supervisory measures must be seen in relation to the objective that employers are seeking to achieve. Here we must say that the technical means available to them do sometimes lead to the adoption of disproportionate supervisory measures. That is why we have made it crystal clear that evaluating data generated by the use of information and communication instruments (telephone, Email, Internet, fax) by means of personal log files is only admissible if there are serious grounds for suspecting a case of misuse. Furthermore, it must be shown why other measures that encroach less on an employee's privacy rights and which could also show whether the grounds are legitimate have not been used. One final point on this subject: surveillance and control systems which are designed to observe employees' behaviour are illegal (Ordinance 3 of the Employment Act; in german).
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Old 21.09.2020, 15:53
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Re: Laws on employee Internet usage?

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Ordinance 3 of the employment act makes it illegal to use systems which are designed to observe employees' behaviour.
Which is different from using systems which are not designed to observe employees' behaviour to snoop on them. Email isn't designed to allow snooping.

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AFAIK the data on the company’s servers and/or accounts is the company’s. You have no right nor expectation of privacy.

This includes if/when you use your company’s equipment for personal use.
You could have a right if there's a written policy in the company. In the absence of one though - dunno.
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Old 21.09.2020, 16:07
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Re: Laws on employee Internet usage?

My last employer had a policy. Couple pages could be summarized as “You have no privacy; You are allowed reasonable personal use, but we will watch your every move”
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Old 21.09.2020, 19:13
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Re: Laws on employee Internet usage?

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Checking the logs to debug email problems is common practice for sysadmins, usually this involves matching a know user sending an email at a specified time, particularly when a user complains that "I can't write to X" or "Y can't write me".
I would be surprise if this constitutes a privacy violation, since it is done "for the purpose of providing a service" or so to say. And in this cases the actual content of the e-mail is not relevant and not inspected.

Filtering is also common practice - think of antispam programs.
That is not the case here. There is no debugging or issues with our email or sending spam. This was a supervisor not believing me and asking another person to search the logs for an email that doesn't exist simply because he wanted to.
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Old 21.09.2020, 19:15
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Re: Laws on employee Internet usage?

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My last employer had a policy. Couple pages could be summarized as “You have no privacy; You are allowed reasonable personal use, but we will watch your every move”
The company I work for has no such policy. What happened was pretty blatant IMHO.
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