Recent changes in federal telecommunications legislation have underscored the importance of an up-to-date and effective telecommunications-use policy in business organizations. With the proliferation of the Internet, intranets, and email as commonplace business tools, the potential for misuse and subsequent liability has become an increasing concern. Even though the recent Supreme Court decision struck down the obscenity provisions of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), it left intact legislation that effectively mandates development of a sound telecommunications-use policy. In addition to potential liability for systems misuse, organizations have also had to address issues of individual employee privacy within the new systems.
This technical expansion, coupled with the information privacy issues, has created a large gray area in organizational policy-making. What exactly should an organization formalize as a standing operational policy for day-to-day use of its telecommunications systems? As is evident, without a specific policy that addresses systems use, there can be no expectation of ethical and responsible use on the part of either an organization or an individual employee.
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