Staff warned as bosses begin to adopt Big Brother tactics

Tuesday, 25 November 2003, 12:35 PM EST

Office staff are being urged to be vigilant amid claims that company bosses are launching covert surveillance operations to spy on them at work.

Employment lawyers are warning of a steep rise in the number of firms prepared to eavesdrop in the workplace, using a range of bugging devices and microscopic cameras.

David Christie, an Aberdeen-based solicitor with Proactive Employment Lawyers, said the area is difficult to police and the law was beginning to lag behind the new technology.

He added: "They have access to a bewildering array of eavesdropping technology. Employer surveillance has become big business and a lot of large companies are using sophisticated technology against their own people."

Human rights groups are increasingly concerned about bugging devices - which are not illegal or licensed in this country. Thousands of people in Britain are tapping into private conversations and surveillance equipment is traded legally through shops, mail-order firms and the internet.

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