SHARE
COPY LINK

SUPREME COURT

Spying on computer use illegal, top court says

Employers cannot use spy software to collect information about the computer activities of employees, Switzerland’s supreme court has ruled.

Spying on computer use illegal, top court says

The ruling, released on Thursday, struck down a decision, earlier approved by the Ticino cantonal government, on the firing of a civil servant found to be spending too much time pursuing unprofessional activities on the internet.

The municipality of Bellinzona used “spyware” to monitor the computer use of a manager working for the local civil protection service for a period of more than three months.

The software revealed that the the employee spent more than 20 percent of his time on computer activities unrelated to his job, such as private banking, social media and watching videos, some of which were of a pornographic nature, the ATS news agency reported.

Although the manager had 24 years experience, the municipality fired him.

But the federal government said the firing was null and void because the manner in which information against the employee was collected is illegal.

The court said collecting such evidence was contrary to a section of the labour act and the measure was “disproportionate”.

“The fight against abuses and checking the efficiency of work of employees is certainly of legitimate interest for the employer,” its ruling said.

“However, these objectives can be obtained through less invasive methods, such as by blocking certain internet sites as a preventive measure, as well as by an analysis of access to the web and email correspondence.”

This can be done in a way that conforms with federal requirements on the protection of data, the court added.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

ATTEMPTED MURDER

Man jailed 12 years for torturing infant daughter

The canton of Zurich's high court sentenced a 28-year-old man to 12 years in jail for brutally torturing his infant daughter because he was convinced he was not the child’s father.

Man jailed 12 years for torturing infant daughter
Canton of Zurich's high court. Photo: Adrian Michael

The decision marked a third, more severe sentencing of the man, convicted for an offence dating back to February 2009.

Doubting he was the biological father of his partner’s child, he took his anger out on the three-week old tot in a fit of jealousy, the SDA news agency reported.

When his partner was away from the home, he intentionally gave the baby scalding hot milk, which burned her mouth.

When the tot screamed he mauled her to the point where several ribs broke and grabbed the baby's arms so hard that he fractured her bones, SDA reported.

He once strangled the child until it went blue, according to the evidence.

It was only a happy circumstance that the girl (who is now four and a half) did not die, according to Switzerland’s supreme court.

The man was sentenced in February 2012 to 11 years in jail for attempted murder following an appeal of an earlier decision for an eight-year term.

But the country’s top court in March ordered a new sentencing in the case, arguing that the charge should be attempted premeditated murder.

SHOW COMMENTS