31st March 2014: This afternoon at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons made the following contribution during a question time following a presentation of the 2013 report from the European Data Protection Service to the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE).
"Last May 29th you (Mr Hustinx) and Mr Butterelli presented your report for 2012. You responded to questions that I asked about the United Kingdom and legislation that had been planned but later abandoned, to keep a record of all telephone numbers dialled and all websites visited. You explained, quite understandably, that you could say little about United Kingdom policy.
"However, you added that you and your colleague would be, "looking at monitoring of Euro-staff and the ways that e-mail and internet use might be monitored".
"I thought at first that you would be initiating this. However, after re-reading your response, it became clear that you meant that you and your colleague were going to consider whether monitoring by some other person or department was justified.
"I could see that staff suspected of using official computers to visit inappropriate websites might be monitored. I could see the justification for devising a policy of limiting the amount of paid time that can be spent on sending and reading received e-mails. However, the policy should precede any monitoring. Furthermore, there should be no recording of e-mail addresses and no looking at private e-mails of staff. I presume that neither happens. Would you be able to explain what e-mail monitoring does take place and by whom?"
Mr Hustinx gave examples of when e-mail monitoring would be justified: if a member of staff were absent for some time, it would be necessary for replacement staff to extract the work that was being done; and if a member of staff were suspected of mis-using e-mails or the internet. Both he and Mr Butterelli said that they were in the process of finishing the drawing up of guidelines of the circumstances in which monitoring would be justified.