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Undocumented personal knowledge occurs someone’s privacy is invaded by someone else. It is sought in order to establish whether an employee is using technology owned by the company for unethical or personal reasons without the consent of the firm. Employees may tend to use work time for personal reasons and this reduces the rate or effectiveness at which the employer is doing work allocated to him. The end result is low output resulting to lesser profit gain by the company. Undocumented personal knowledge is also done to monitor the employees from engaging in dubious activities that might put the company at stake. This include passing or selling of private information related to the company to company rivals or when an employee uses the company’s technology that to perform unethical deeds that might place the company in problems with the law.
The purpose of undocumented personal knowledge is legitimate and highly important if at all the employee is aware of such activity through the company policies presented to him at the time of employment or through the regular memos. This purpose is illegitimate and highly inappropriate if at all the employer does it without the consent of the employees.
It would be ethically wrong if the employers invaded their employee’s privacy. A more realistic and a reasonable approach to this issue is the limited use of technology for personal use by employees. Employees will feel safe and trusted if at all their privacy is not invaded.
Knowledge sought through invasion of privacy is only justifiable if; a search warrant has been produced by a federal agency concerning a particular employee, in case the employee is aware of such an exercise being carried out and incase there is enough proof that the employee is getting involved in some dubious activities that may warrant the invasion his/her privacy.
Invasion of privacy is not the only means of obtaining knowledge, other forms includes examining the keystroke. Keystroke monitoring is a type of electronic surveillance that determines the speed of data entry when the keystrokes and the window name are typed. Browsers have history tab and one can log on to check all the visited websites. From the control panel, one can access all the software’s installed for personal use by the employee. All application ran can be viewed, documents and files downloaded, viewed or opened can be monitored. All sites that are not relevant to the company may be blocked and an attempt by the employee to log in to them can alert the administrators of the company’s server.
Restrictions placed on privacy invading techniques includes the federal law, the 1986 Electronic Communications privacy forbids unauthorized interception of electronic communication such as an email with an exemption of service providers. Employees should in turn use email to business purpose.
Once personal knowledge has been acquired, it should be immediately disposed of immediately in order to protect someone’s privacy. If it means small or moderate harm to the company, the employee should be warned but if a greater harm is to be caused, relevant steps including filing up a court case, dismissal or a suspension of the employee should be taken.
According to philosopher William Parent, the right to privacy is more appropriate just like a right to liberty. Personal privacy should be respected and a policy/notice should clearly state to which extent the personal space prevail in a working environment. It’s ethical when the employees refrain from misuse of work technology and when employers trust and respect their employees enough to invade their worker’s privacy. Monitoring comes down to a matter of contract. Policies/notices or memos should state whether the company seeks undocumented personal knowledge.