Information Policy – Why?

After watching this video Did You Know 4.0 created by xplanevisualthinking (Sept 14, 2009) under a Creative Commons Attribution licence.

I considered some of the shifts or changes in individual’s behaviour as a digital citizen that the video highlighted and how I believe this may impact on the need for information policies in organisations to address these behaviours.

The five shifts that I selected are:-

  • Prevalence of mobile or cell phones and their rapidly increasing use as connection to the internet.
  • Of songs downloaded in the last year, 95% were not paid for.
  • Online Social networks and how they can be leveraged, example given – political fund raising.
  • Inappropriate blogs or messages board that negatively impact on a person’s employer.
  • Self publishing of content in a variety of media – for example, Wikipedia and You Tube.

I have considered these shifts from employer/employee perspective.

From an employer/employee perspective it raises many questions about the use of the employer’s Internet network by employees.  A policy may be in place or be developed regarding personal use of the network, when personal use may be permitted, what sort of things it may be use may be for.  Employers are going to want to protect themselves from loss of work time by employees or from inappropriate use or unlawful activities by their staff.  Examples of behaviour that employers may wish to address include viewing pornography, or downloading illegal copies of music or films that breach copyright law. Outside of work employees may publish their own content whether on social networks, blogs or in some other form, they may make reference to their work, comments about other staff or disagree with an employer’s policies, decisions or practises.  An employer’s information policy may cover this situation and breaches could have serious implications, including the loss of employment.  The use of mobile phones and other mobile Internet devices would also need to be covered by the policy.

Depending on the size and type of business some information will want to be kept secure for example the private details of clients and financial information will want to be protected.

Likewise these shifts can have a change in business practises, a businesses reputation and service can go social.  A business may monitor social networks to respond to customer comments and establish a presence in social networks.  The policy may cover a businesses objective, approach and expectations regarding the interaction via social networks.

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