German government clamps down on internet spying -

The German government is set to issue some very precise instructions to employers about the extent that they can snoop on their employees' internet use.

New laws being drafted into place put opening employee email on a par with sticking cameras in the loos.

The laws will allow companies to Google employees to discover what they are up to when they go home. However it limits the use of that information.

A company could not go back to an ancient blog and use it as evidence to sack someone. However they could use a post which showed the employee calling for the crucifixion of their boss on Facebook as grounds for a sacking.

A company cannot go onto Facebook to research whether or not a prospective job candidate is suitable for the post.

Spying on emails, or monitoring internet use is also strictly limited under the new laws. Basically it rules out daily monitoring and opening of emails unless there is some evidence that an employee has been doing wrong.

The new laws have had a fairly rough time getting accepted. This is mostly because they allowed the covert use of cameras to spy on employees. This got the unions upset and were deleted from the law.

As it stands German companies will be limited to sticking cameras on the outside of the buildings but not in the inside. So security staff can monitor smokers but not those making out in a stationery cupboard.