herald

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Staff warned on 50 Shades in the office

IRISH employees who send each other e-copies of the raunchy novel 50 Shades Of Grey may end up facing disciplinary action.

The so-called 'mummy porn' book has been a massive hit among Irish women in particular and several online versions have been distributed via email in the workplace.

However, software companies have warned that the language used in the book could be detected by content control systems and deemed to be inappropriate.



Confidential

Sheelagh Hawkins of Irish owned MXSweep said that firms need to protect themselves and their employees against potential legal action.

"As an employee, I may not want to receive a copy of 50 Shades Of Grey," she said.

"This issue is common but actually very easy to solve if proper email content control is enabled."

The computer experts said that the controls are needed, not only to highlight distribution of inappropriate material, but also to ensure there is compliance within the firms when it comes to credit card numbers, catalogue details or confidential material."

But she said that every organisation is unique, so MXSweep trained staff work with organisations to help customise their rules and policies.

A representative for the Data Protection Commissioner said that there must be a balance between the privacy expectation and the up front and transparent monitoring of systems.

"If an employer provides equipment, they have a right to monitor this to a certain extent, but it should be balanced," a spokeswoman told the Herald.

"It should not be the case that they are monitoring the content of each and every email.

"The employer should stipulate to employees what you can and cannot use the equipment for and be upfront about it.



Pornography

"Obviously they shouldn't be sending unacceptable material or what could be viewed as pornography. As long as they are telling you that they are recording you and that they don't step across the line.

"If an employee's misuse of email or internet is found too far unacceptable, there is a strong possibility that he or she will get fired."

clairemurphy@herald.ie

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