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2021 prediction: Regulatory and legal activity related to employee privacy will increase 100%

Lianna Brinded
·Head of Yahoo Finance UK
·2-min read
Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

“Regulatory and legal activity related to employee privacy will increase 100%” in 2021.

That’s according to global researcher and consultancy Forrester, which said that “consumer demand, innovation, and the pandemic are changing the way we work and igniting employers’ desire to collect, analyze, and share employee personal data.”

In Forrester’s new report, it warned that this is also a wider opening for for things to go wrong.

“It’s an opportunity, but without the right safeguards, it becomes a trap, and we predict in 2021 regulatory and legal activity regarding employee privacy will double.

“While European regulators are already enforcing privacy rules to protect employees’ personal data, countries like Brazil, India, and Thailand will soon do the same.

READ MORE: Companies face fresh security risks from people working from home

“And in the US, given the corporate practices and policies that often limit or deny employees a right to privacy, the battle to determine what is a reasonable expectation of workplace privacy will be fought in the courts. Expect employee privacy lawsuits to multiply in the next 12 months.”

Forrester said that companies have to do three things when it comes to handling employee data in this new landscape:

  • identifying requirements;

  • assessing specific privacy and ethical risks;

  • communicating transparently with employees

At the start of the pandemic in March this year, the increase in volume of people working from home also increased the likelihood of companies getting hacked through weaknesses in employees’ home networks and misuse of VPN.

A VPN, for example, can’t make your computer secure, it just makes the connection between you and your office secure.

In October this year, Swedish retailer H&M (HM-B.ST) was fined more than $41m (£31m) for allegedly tracking hundreds of employees’ personal lives on a company database.

WATCH: H&M Fined $41 Million for Tracking Employees’ Personal Lives