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Privacy and pornography.

08/02/2011

An senior public servant was plainly told not to use his employer’s computer equipment to access pornography.  He had acknowledged that directive and knew that his employer monitored the use of all IT facilities.  Nevertheless, he viewed pornography on his work laptop computer, via his own ISP account, out of working hours, away from his workplace.  His behaviour was discovered by a desktop logger installed on the machine.  He faced termination of his employment for disobeying a lawful & reasonable direction. He argued he should not be dismissed because (amongst other things) the direction:

–       was not lawful because it was collected in a way or for a purpose prohibited by the Privacy Act 1988, and

–       was not reasonable because it permitted the publication of his private, confidential information

–       was not reasonable because it was inconsistent with his right of privacy under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

–       was not reasonable because his employer had no legitimate interest in regulating his conduct out of the work context

The Federal Court has dismissed all those arguments.  Read the  reasons for judgement in Griffiths v Rose & ors .

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