About PAW

PAW – Privacy at Workplace is a common project of University of Pécs (applicant) and of Georg-August University Göttingen (partner). The project is financed by the European Union, and by the two mentioned participant universities. The project addresses the specific problems of privacy at workplaces, and it mainly focuses on the surveillance aspects of the privacy issues.

Generally the employer – employee relationship is special from the aspect of privacy, since the employees are usually in a subordinate position. The employees cannot effectively protect their right to privacy, usually they are not even informed about their rights and possibilities. We also have to highlight that sometimes the actual level of privacy protection is more or less adequate, but the employees still feel themselves being observed, and technical development (CCTV, entrance control with RFID card, etc.) can even strengthen this sense.

It must be admitted that the employers generally have the legitimate interest to control the work of their employees, to improve their effectiveness and to protect their property, but these activities may also result unnecessary surveillance and breach of privacy rights. Since many employees uses electronic communication means, a wide range of technical arsenal is given to control, monitor and observe legally or illegally the employees: using electronic entrance system, monitor the premises by camera, check (even in secret) the employees e-mail, web and software usage, create sometimes unnecessary log files, follow employees by geolocation devices, etc. Some of these activities may be legal of course in order to control the work itself, and improve the effectiveness of a company or public body, but privacy can be easily breached and it is really hard to find the balance.

According to our experiences, legal regulation cannot face all these problems, in many cases there is a lack in regulation or specific issues cannot be solved by the general provisions of law.

The target groups of our projects are mainly the employees, employers, but also experts in this field, students and the legislator.

Our overall goal is raising privacy awareness of employees and employers, and promote the actual protection level of privacy at workplaces, show the European dimension of privacy protection, develop Code of Conducts for workplaces and to work out an (audit) methodology how to ensure the realization of these results in the long run.