Workplace privacy in the internet age: recommendations for a policy framework in Sri Lanka

Mahanamahewa, Sri Warna Prathiba (2006). Workplace privacy in the internet age: recommendations for a policy framework in Sri Lanka PhD Thesis, T.C. Beirne School of Law, The University of Queensland. doi:10.14264/uql.2014.557

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Author Mahanamahewa, Sri Warna Prathiba
Thesis Title Workplace privacy in the internet age: recommendations for a policy framework in Sri Lanka
School, Centre or Institute T.C. Beirne School of Law
Institution The University of Queensland
DOI 10.14264/uql.2014.557
Publication date 2006
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Gillian Dempsey
Andrew Greinke
Total pages 321
Language eng
Subjects 160503 Communications and Media Policy
180114 Human Rights Law
Formatted abstract
This thesis lays the foundation for future research in an area that has been called the “hottest workplace privacy topic of the next decade” (Cavoukian, 2004). Existing empirical studies suggest that the latest intrusive monitoring technologies which have been introduced in to the workplace have created an unwanted, and unexpected, imbalance and developed a wide gap in the 21st century employer/employee relationships. The thesis argues for the introduction of privacy-enhancing technologies empowered with legal instruments to protect workplace privacy. In addition, it suggests that employee awareness and training in workplace privacy policy developments are decisive factors in achieving this. Trust and confidence beneficial to employees and employers would be encouraged. Relevant literature critically reviews the concept of privacy from an economic viewpoint, and argues that a contractual framework is essential to protect personal information from being disclosed against third parties.

Employees and managers views and opinions, the thesis suggest, are important in developing a workplace privacy policy focused on computer monitoring. To determine this, an empirical survey was conducted in five government sector organisations in Sri Lanka to gather factual information and to examine attitudes, beliefs and opinions on computer monitoring of 100 public sector managers and 150 employees. These were subsequently supported by 20 in-depth interviews. Results indicated that in common with other studies, invasion of privacy may arise with computer monitoring and create negative workplace productivity. This thesis proposes that the well accepted “Integrative Social Contract Theory” (ISCT), which combines empirical power with normative spirit be employed to regain the diminishing balance of privacy protection in the workplace. The findings of the thesis analyse this.

The thesis then considers these findings. Theoretical and practical implications are examined, and the thesis concludes with a discussion of questions for suggested future research. The results of the thesis could be used as guide for policy-makers and legislatures involved in drafting privacy legislation, and associated policies relevant to the Sri Lankan workplace. The next phase would be to compare and contrast an Asian country with a Western country and to analyse their response towards workplace privacy. “ISCT” could thus be more useful as a global empirical study.
Keyword Electronic monitoring in the workplace -- Sri Lanka
Electronic mail messages -- Law and legislation -- Sri Lanka
Privacy, Right of -- Sri Lanka
Employee rights -- Sri Lanka
Internet -- Law and legislation -- Sri Lanka

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (RHD) - UQ staff and students only
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Created: Wed, 10 Dec 2014, 14:57:11 EST by Mary-Anne Marrington on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service