The Globe & Mail
Friday, April 24, 1998
(Letter to the Editor)
page A18

Whose E-mail?

re: Privacy is Assumed (letter - April 21)

One your letter writers said that company monitoring of employee E-mail is illegal. That is incorrect. He wrote that willfully intercepting a private communication is illegal if the communication is made "undercircumstances in which it is reasonable for the originator to expect that it will not be intercepted by any person other than the person intended by the originator to receive it." He cited Section 184 of the Criminal Code.

That section, which covers specific devices and situations, refers to the wiretapping of telephones, not the electronic interception of E-mail. Such activities remain unregulated.

That is why we believe there's an onus on companies to develop policies on E-mail -- and that such policies should be clearly communicated to all employees.

Ann Cavoukian, Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner

Copyright © 1998 by The Globe & Mail. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.