COMPANY IT TOOLS

Can a company filter internet use or e-mails, and on what conditions, if any?

(Click on the country you want to view)

SOUTH AFRICA – THE HOST COUNTRY
ALGERIA
EGYPT
HONG KONG
INDIA
INDONESIA
ISRAEL
JAPAN
KENYA
KOREA
LIBYA
MAURITANIA
MAURITIUS
MOROCCO
NEW ZEALAND
NIGERIA
OMAN
SAUDI ARABIA
THAILAND
TUNISIA
UGANDA

SOUTH AFRICA – THE HOST COUNTRY

While an employee does not lose the right to privacy upon entering the workplace, his or her privacy rights are to some extent reduced in the workplace. An employer may filter internet use and employees’ e-mails subject to certain conditions. The options available to an employer with regard to monitoring and intercepting internet usage and e-mails are largely dependent on whether or not the company has a provision in its contracts of employment with its employees and/or a written IT Policy advising employees that they have no expectation of privacy with regard to the company’s office communication system, and that any electronic communications made on such system may be intercepted from time to time. Also any monitoring of an employee’s internet usage, and interception of his or her e-mails, must be conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act, 2002.

ALGERIA

Yes. A company can filter internet use and e-mails. However, it must first inform its employees that measures of control and filtering of the web and e-mail have been set up.

EGYPT

A company can filter internet usage if such internet usage is on company property, but the employer cannot monitor or filter employees’ personal emails since that is a violation of their privacy. Conditions for monitoring or filtering apply only to information for control on a company’s server/computers.

HONG KONG

The law allows employers the right to filter internet use and emails. The terms of restriction may be incorporated into the employment contract. The company may impose any condition - it is essentially a matter of agreement between the company and its employees

INDIA

Yes. A company may filter internet use and emails of employees. The company may impose such conditions as it may deem fit, but should inform its employees about such a policy. The company should also ensure that such information/emails are kept confidential.

Back to top

INDONESIA

Yes. There is no prohibition on a company filtering internet use or email under current laws and regulations for equipment (including the system, hardware and software) owned by the company. Many employers in fact apply internet and email filtering. The only condition for the filtering is that the equipment (including the system, hardware and software) is the property of the company.

ISRAEL

Filtering to block access to certain internet sites is permitted in Israel, but employers may only look at employees’ emails if the employee has consented in writing.

JAPAN

Yes. A company may filter internet use and e-mails in Japan. The filtering of internet use and e-mails should be regulated by the rules of employment. However, the employees must be notified in advance. In addition, the manner of filtering needs to be reasonable.

KENYA

Yes, provided that such monitoring is agreed to contractually. Taking such action would normally be provided in a company’s policies. Kenya does not have privacy or data protection laws; however, to the extent that there is a right to privacy under English common law, this would have application in Kenya. Therefore, an employer should inform its employees that it reserves the right to filter emails and internet use where the employer’s equipment is being used. The company’s policies should be communicated to the employees and not applied arbitrarily. Normally, employers would provide in their policies that they have the right to restrict and monitor use of company equipment.

KOREA

An employer, as an owner of the property, has a right to manage its facilities for its own purposes. Therefore, the company can block access to certain web-sites that are not work-related.

Back to top

LIBYA

Yes. A company can filter internet use, as the equipment is company property. No prior information or consent is required.

MAURITANIA

Yes. A company can filter internet use if such activity is taking place using company property. Restriction is allowed without prior information.

MAURITIUS

Yes, a company can filter internet usage in the workplace.

MOROCCO

Yes. A company can filter internet use and e-mail, as it is company property. Company IT tools cannot be used for reasons other than work -- such as watching games – since this could affect the employee’s quality of work. A company can also restrict access to different non-professional, non-work-related websites.

NEW ZEALAND

Yes. A company can filter internet use and email, provided it has a documented policy covering this. A company can impose whatever reasonable restrictions it wants on the use of the internet and emails in the workplace. The policy, however, should be in writing. Most companies will have a documented internet policy to impose conditions on internet and email use that is readily available to employees. As it is company property, there are no conditions, and obtaining employees’ agreement or information is not required.

NIGERIA

It is not uncommon in Nigeria for employers to restrict internet use during working hours. One of the major considerations for doing so is the limitation on the amount of available bandwidth. An employer’s priority in this regard is to ensure that whatever internet capability is available can be deployed for official assignments. Thus, it may restrict internet downloads or access to social networking sites on the company’s internet facility.

Back to top

OMAN

There is nothing in the Omani Labour Law that prevents or allows the employer to filter internet use and email. In practice, most employment contracts have a provision that states that all emails, etc. are the property of the employer. In addition, many employers block social internet sites for use by their employees.

SAUDI ARABIA

This is an issue for the employer to determine, as there is no law in Saudi Arabia stipulating such rights over the employee. Blocking certain websites that the employer considers unrelated to work which may have a negative effect on the employees’ performance may fall under the employer’s internal policies. The employer may take such action if it believes it has adequate proof; however, it will be considered as infringing on the employee’s personal rights if no proof or real suspicion exists.

THAILAND

Internet use and emails may be filtered by the employer. There are no conditions in Thailand restricting this right of the employer.

TUNISIA

Yes. A company can monitor and filter internet use and e-mail.

UGANDA

Yes, if it is company property. A company may filter an employee’s internet use and e-mail for information that is on the company’s server/computers.

Back to top