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companies warned to add blogging to IT security policy

05 June, 2008
A British firm of solicitors is advising companiestest to be aware of the blogging activities of their employees and to write appropriate policies into their IT strategies.

After an employee at a large UK book shop chain successfully appealed against dismissal due to blogging and bringing the shop into disrepute, solicitors are now warning that blogging employees could create a number of problems if companies don’t account for it in their policies. Blog (or web logs) are internet based journals which can be set up by anyone about anything and there are millions of them. Some are harmless, some are not and some of them could lead unwary employers into legal problems, according to Glovers Solicitors. These problems can relate to libel where an employee could be seen to represent the company and make remarks that could result in legal action, the employee could be using the medium for sounding off about his own company or colleagues and thus damaging its reputation or the employee could be doing his blogging inside company hours when it could be argued that he has better things to do. The final point is that web logs are another route out for confidential company information. As with almost every aspect of corporate IT and the law, the answer lies in a clear IT policy. Without one, any action taken against errant employees could fail as it has recently done in the Waterstones legal case. Policies in this respect should cover such things as company representation in public electronic media, internet use during company time and some reinforcement of the trust relationship between the employer and the employee in relation to information that could damage a company’s reputation.

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