Issues of privacy at the forefront of concerns for U.S. citizens

Issues of privacy, monitoring and surveillance are now at the forefront of concerns for U.S. citizens.

Milwaukee, Wis. - September 06, 2006 -- Nearly 80% of organizations exercise some form of employee surveillance, according to an article in the latest issue of Communication Theory. The USA PATRIOT Act was implemented in October 2003 with the intention of thwarting terrorist organizations, but the effects the law is having on the general population has now raised concerns for many U.S. citizens and civil liberties organizations.

In the current climate, surveillance is actively supported, which sends a signal to many organizations that surveillance of employees will continue to be tolerated at unprecedented levels. Although current law protects individuals from surveillance of personal communication, exceptions provide work organizations many loopholes that allow them to monitor their employees, sometimes with little or no notice.

The article examines the all-encompassing effects of electronic monitoring and surveillance (EM/S) of social communication in the workplace and the underlying structural and perceptual elements that lead to these effects. It also provides future scholarly perspectives for studying EM/S and privacy in the organization from the vantage point of contemporary communication technologies, such as the telephone, voicemail, email, and instant messaging, utilized for organizational communication.

"The model presented in this research could provide a roadmap of sorts which would allow organizations to find a balance between the need for organizational control and employees' desire for communication privacy," states the author, Dr. Scott D'Urso. "Seeking this balance could also reduce the employee's overall concern over surveillance in the workplace, as the organization may be perceived as acting in a fair and reasonable manner."


This article is published in the recent issue of Communication Theory.

Scott C. D'Urso is an Assistant Professor of Communication in the Department of Communication Studies at Marquette University. Most recently, his research has appeared in the book, "Case Studies in Organizational Communication: Ethical Perspectives and Practices" (S. May, Ed.). He received the W. Charles Redding Dissertation Award at the International Communication Association's annual meeting in 2005. Dr. D'Urso is available for questions and interviews. Please email him at: [email protected].

Communication Theory is an international forum publishing high quality, original research into the theoretical development of communication from across a wide array of disciplines, such as communication studies, sociology, psychology, political science, cultural and gender studies, philosophy, linguistics, and literature. The journal is published on behalf of the International Communication Association

Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with 665 academic and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 800 journals and, to date, has published more than 6,000 books, across a wide range of academic, medical, and professional subjects.

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
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