Almost Three-Quarters Of Workers Say It's Okay For Employers To Monitor Their Internet Activities On The Job

More than half (51%) of employees report that their companies already have policies that regulate employee Internet usage on the job.

New York, May 1, 2000 As governments and companies struggle to develop Internet privacy standards, more than half (51%) of employees with online access at work are aware that their companies already have policies that regulate employee Internet usage on the job, results from a weekend Angus Reid Group poll show. What's more, an overwhelming majority of these workers (73%) say their employers have the right to monitor their e-mails and Internet usage at the office. In contrast, non-employees and people without Internet access at work are much less likely (43%) to feel that potential invasions of privacy are justifiable.

The survey conducted over the weekend with 1,000 adults also shows that most employees freely admit they go online at work for personal reasons: 55% of them use the Internet for personal e-mail, and 46% use it for personal surfing.

"I'm stunned that so many workers are putting their employers' rights above their own privacy," says Edward Morawski, a senior analyst at the Angus Reid Group in New York. "I guess that they think it must be okay for companies to review their online activities since employees are, after all, using company-issued computers and networks on company time. However, I am not so sure that Internet privacy issues are fully understood as of yet. For instance, the telephone is employer-owned as well, but how many employees would accept corporate monitoring of all their conversations on it"

"This is a debate that has huge implications for privacy and productivity."

Findings from the Angus Reid Poll of 1000 Americans

1) Software has been developed where an employer can monitor the Internet activity of each of his or her employees. Do you believe an employer has the right to monitor an employee's e-mails and Internet usage?

Yes No DK/R
General population (base of 1000) 57% 41% 2%
Employees with Internet/ e-mail access at work (weighted base of 442) 73% 26% 1%

2) Does your company have a policy regarding personal use of the Internet? (Weighted Base: 442 American employees with access to the Internet at work).

Yes 51%
No 45%
Don't know/refused 4%

The results were collected by Angus Reid EXPRESS, a nationally representative survey conducted every weekend amongst 1,000 Americans. The margin of error is +- 3%. Results based on smaller subgroups have a larger potential for sampling error.

About Angus Reid

The Angus Reid Group is one of North America's premier market research and public opinion polling firms. The company also provides international clients with a regularly scheduled quarterly global polling program wherein upwards of 30 countries over a two-month timeframe are sampled for opinions on private sector and public matters. The Angus Reid Group also publishes, on a quarterly basis, the World Monitor, a digest of world public opinion trends and insights gleaned from its world polling activities.

For more information on this release, please contact:

Ed Morawski Angus Reid Group New York (212) 265-3200

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