Privacy Commissioner to Release Guide on Social Networking at Work

According to their recent blog post, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is expected to soon release guidelines to help employers draft policies for use of social networking sites in the workplace. The Office cites a recent study by Ryerson University that identified a digital divide between young Canadians who use social networks and their employers. The blog post explains:

…researchers found that, by and large, employers currently don’t have policies, guidelines or practices in place that govern the use of social networking sites in the workplace.

However, a small number of employers are starting to. So far, the responses by employers have varied widely – from banning outright all workplace access to social networking sites, to developing codes of conduct and guidelines for employees’ online activities.

There is also a disconnect between employers and society generally: recall that comScore found Canadians are the top social network adoption in the world. It seems to me that, since some social network sites are business-related or allow employees to connect with clients/customers and potential clients or customers, and therefore may hold some benefit that employers have not yet discovered, it makes sense to put a policy in place rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater by outright banning sites.

Some additional resources cited by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner:

On a related note, don’t forget Steve Matthews has asked for input in a survey trying to determine how widely law firms are blocking social networks.

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