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Acting on information

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Ask the average architectural practice partner about the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIP) and you'll get a blank stare. At least I hope so.

It is the latest manifestation of the opening up of government and freedom of information. Not! It actually allows bosses to snoop on your use of your computers - including downloads - and also to sleaze through your e-mails to see if you are sending rude messages around the office or secrets to a rival practice. But the sensible old TUC reckons employers are getting out of hand and having the vapours about lewd e-mails quite out of proportion to the 'offence'.

Happily, it isn't all the way of the 'moralists'. One snag for them is the forthcoming data protection code. The government finished industry consultations last week and the code will be in place by the middle of the year. 'Companies will need to be very careful because the code will impose important restrictions on what they can get away with, ' warned Sarah Veale of the TUC.

The other interesting thing is that the Act hasn't been tested against the new Human Rights Act and here there looks to be lots of dosh scheduled for the persons in wigs.

Whatever, you need to ask your practice bosses what they propose to do with their new snooping powers. If you don't get the aforesaid blank stare, maybe you could tell us about it.

And be very afraid.

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