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SKT174
23-12-2003, 08:18 AM
From Job Maket Online (http://jobmarket.inq7.net/people/people.php?artdate=2003-12-18&artnum=4)

Are personal computer files company property?
Resty S. Odon
INS

AN ARTICLE that appeared in Occupational Health magazine (UK) pondered on this question and came up with, at best a vague answer. The article presented the case of an employee whose personal email files have been accessed by his employer without his knowledge. His employer cited company security or some other alibi. From what I gathered, the British court has yet to decide with finality whether it was a case of a company's violation of a person's privacy.

In its defense, the company reminded everyone that the worker's computer is company property. On the other hand, the lawyer of the aggrieved employee argued that the case might be likened to an employer's locker. The locker is company property but the things kept therein remain the employee's property. The company has no right to touch or take that property without the employee's consent.

The counter-arguments posed subsequently were: Doesn't the company have the right to at least open the locker and check into what's inside? What if an object, a security threat like an unauthorized gun or explosive, is being locked up? Who shall define what is a security threat? Where do we draw the line between a company's right to know and an individual's right to privacy?

This writer's questions: Can an employee lay personal claim on a property he doesn't own? Can a company snoop into a person's private affairs like personal e-mail or letters? Ah, the problems posed by the digital age ...

(What's your take on this? We invite readers to share their thoughts on this issue. Write to peopleatwork@inquirer.com.ph.- PaW Ed.)

metla
23-12-2003, 09:49 AM
The company owns the computer.

brig
23-12-2003, 10:02 AM
Well, this is how I would see it......

The company may be said to "own" the employee (for the duration of his working hours), in the sense that the employee like the computer is a tool programmed to perform certain tasks as, how and when required.

But, there is absolutely no way I would allow my employer to claim ownership or access to the inner, private contents of my brain....even although these private contents were created during working hours.

brig

-=JM=-
23-12-2003, 11:03 AM
ANYTHING created at the work place without permission being arranged first becomes the property of the employer. You may argue about it being personal stuff, why the heck are you doing personal things on company time?

mikebartnz
23-12-2003, 11:11 AM
As far as I'm concerned the company owns the PC so owns everything on it unless of course the employee has made previous arrangements. Overall employees waste a lot of company time using the PC for personal reason as was pointed out recently when an outfit lost the use of their PC's for a couple of days and found the employees far more productive. I wish I had retained the link to the article as it even amazed me. It reminds me of hearing how in London in the horse and cart days the traffic was faster than it is today on average.