I am in Canada. Is it legal for your employer to install a keylogger or other monitoring software on your workplace PC without informing you of this fact? Do I have any right regarding this?

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    Who owns the PC? Are you forbidden from performing personal business on your work PC? Have you been advised that your computer may be monitored? – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jul 6 '12 at 14:13
  • So why is this question down-voted? The moderator could, at the very least, give a reason. – chlong Jul 6 '12 at 15:21
  • @Chad, The employer owns the PC and I am not forbidden to perform personal business. I have not been advised that the PC may be monitored. Tbh, this is just a general question that piqued my interest and would like some clarification. – chlong Jul 6 '12 at 15:25
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    @chlong: A moderator can only give a reason for their own downvote. For anyone else's downvote, it's pure speculation. My guess is that someone might have downvoted because the question does not contain enough detail about the situation, and maybe because it is also quite localized (to Canada). – FrustratedWithFormsDesigner Jul 6 '12 at 15:36
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    Conflicting close reasons; I went with Off Topic because, unfortunately, legal stuff is pretty much always not possible to parse without a lawyer versed in the specific laws of the area. – Rarity Jul 6 '12 at 18:06

At least according to this:


It's unclear. Being a US security nerd, I'm not going to try to interpret Canadian law, but I'll say that in almost any company, a read of the computer use policies is a good idea... since those are checked by lawyers and get revamped as laws change (at least in cautious companies), they probably reflect the law better than anything but talking to a lawyer. And they give the practical answer on how does your specific company see it.

At least in the US, there's been a trend towards less privacy, more monitoring for security protection on employer owned computers and equipment. And a trend towards keeping employee owned equipment off the corporate network. Which isn't much of a burden considering what you can do with a personally owned SmartPhone these days.


I Am Not A Lawyer, however installing key loggers on business computers or reading and modifying employees emails business accounts is usually a legal grey zone. Unfortunately it is common practice in larger organizations the rationale is security issues with employees. When it is difficult to get an overview of what everyone does then the risk is significantly higher for security breaches.

If it was done without any agreement then it is very inappropriate, it is in fact a breach in trust between your company and you. Some countries allow this and some strictly forbid this. I'd advice you take this up for discussion with the management to avoid any legal battles.

If you deem that your employer has done something very wrong then do consult a lawyer, in your case a canadian one.

  • -1 This is really a comment not an answer. While consulting a lawyer is always good advice on legal questions it does not address the question. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jul 6 '12 at 15:53
  • @Chad: I address the question with the second paragraph where I state that you should bring it up with management. It is an issue that should be up for discussion, in order to avoid legal battles. – Spoike Jul 6 '12 at 16:02
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    @Chad: It is true that I'm not directly answering the question, but the question is at the same time broad and localized (to Canada). I'm reading it as the OP (and most likely anyone who comes in here from a search site) is assuming ill intent with his superiors (for which can be deemed as a clerical error instead) and I'm addressing that the OP really should talk to them before pursuing legal actions and that is my answer. – Spoike Jul 6 '12 at 16:58

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