Hmm, I'm not all that convinced that the relationship between employer/employee is comparable to that of a child in care. Although vulnerable, the kids have a right to privacy too and although its clearly never going to be easy to offset one against the other, I'd be doubtful whether routine monitoring could be justified (ie. unless there were particular concerns)
I think I'm being asked to break the law (legal advice please).
Work computers are for work use in work time (he says whilst posting on STW from work...)
Computers in a kids home are provided for educational and personal use, therefore not comparing like with like.
We talk about establishments, kits units, liability etc, just remember that it is still their actual home.
For fear of repeating myself, my problem is not with the act of monitoring itself, I see it as absolutely essential to protect the young people. My problem is that, as the "computer guy" at work, all this sort of thing falls on me, which means that, when I do find evidence of grooming or criminal behaviour, it will be me that ends up in court, again, not in itself a problem for me. My problem is that, when I am faced with cross examination by a defence lawyer, I don't want there to be any weaknesses in our processes that could see paedophiles walk free.
is there a governing body/trade regulator/ type organisation that you can get advice and maybe a good practice / process check /certificate signed? after discussing this with a manager etc?
maybe legal cover / insurance should be raised with the manager too?
My problem is that, when I am faced with cross examination by a defence lawyer, I don't want there to be any weaknesses in our processes that could see paedophiles walk free.
@fin for that you have my wholehearted support (and admiration for having been involved in the legal process previously)
I suppose this is why so many things these days cost so much money, you are going to need some professional guidance here.
Any National Guidelines around (Care Inspectorate / Care Quality Commission) etc that could help? Perhaps also speak to the Childrens Rights Officer in your area.
OP, at the risk of sounding like a blunt arse and be slightly dismissive of some more speculative but well-meant replies (still waking up from 4hrs crap sleep after a night shift) I've pointed you towards relevant legislation and I have experience in using it. Your employer is a business (which includes public authorities). The legislation refers to users (of the equipment), not to employees, so the fact its a home is a red herring. The computer equipment belongs to you, the home, not to the users.
I spent 2 years on the Professional Standards Dept within Thames Valley Police, investigating other coppers. The evidence we gathered has been tried and tested in court
Today, the court heard that police became suspicious during a purge on the personal use of force communications equipment,
In other words, if you send an email at work (in a police station!) about buying cocaine, you are a bloody idiot.
What you are being asked to do is lawful, but whoever owns the home should know what rules govern the activity and have a policy in place to ensure it is practiced lawfully for your/their protection, and I assume somewhere along the line they employ lawyers.
In order to be lawful, the system controller* must have made all reasonable efforts to inform every user of the system that communications might be intercepted.
so it becomes a written policy and a condition of use - on just about every system in Thames Valley Police you have to click "Ok/yes" on a text box explaining this before proceeding, which means we have watertight proof the user was aware of the policy.
*And from the Act "system controller" is
"system controller” means, in relation to a particular telecommunication system, a person with a right to control its operation or use.
which probably means you as the "computer guy".
You are doing the right thing in protecting children, you are also doing the right thing in trying to protect yourself and your employer and ensure the integrity of the work you do and any evidence you gather, but other people within the organisation should be doing this for you.
@fin if your boss wants you to do this, then they should provide the guidance and framework for you carry out the task, so you are not at risk should the worst happen. Speak to them and get them to resolve any concerns you have
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