Workers have a right to know when they are being digitally monitored

19 January 2021

Digital surveillance at work is becoming increasingly prevalent. This has been highlighted by the Labour Party’s call today, echoing Prospect’s recent call, for the Information Commissioner’s Office to update its Code of Employment Practices to reflect the changing world of work.

It has also been revealed that one in five companies are already digitally monitoring workers or planning to do so.

Last year research by leading trade union Prospect showed that half of workers don’t know what data their employer collects on them.

Prospect has also recently published a guide for workers to help them understand their rights when it comes to data and the use of technology in the workplace.

Andrew Pakes, Research Director at Prospect, said:

“With news that one-in-five employers are now using digital surveillance software to monitor workers at home or planning to do so, it is increasingly clear that this is just the tip of a new technological iceberg.

“Too often digital monitoring is being introduced without any consultation and risks breaking even the current rules around data privacy.

“The law says workers have a right to know when they are being monitored and to be consulted over how their data is being used.

“Government must wake up to this, strengthen the rules and provide workers with clear and modern rights over how our data is used.

“We all have the right to basic privacy, to have a personal life that is separate to work, and to have dignity in our working lives including a level of respect and trust from our employers.”

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