On the 15th of October we hosted a breakfast meeting at the stylish Sandra Blow room in the Soho Hotel with our friends at Lewis Silkin LLP. After catching up with delegates from Endemol Shine, Keshet International, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Channel 4 and many others over an elegant buffet breakfast, we sat down to discuss how to protect your company in the digital age, a pressing issue for media companies and media recruiters like us.
In the wake of the Sony hack in late 2014, wherein data from Sony Pictures employees’ emails and other information were exposed allegedly by a North Korean-sponsored terrorist group, restricting access to confidential information is a pervasive concern in the media industries.
Russell and Richard led discussions of a wide range of topics relating to issues with safeguarding information, contracts, the use of social media, and the advantages of digital means of communication. Namely, it is vital that confidential information is encrypted, password protected, and restricted by copying and downloading rights. This behaviour needs to be secured with policies reserving the right to monitor accessing and downloading company information. Now that we are in the smartphone era, it is also wise to monitor access to company information via personal devices, through remote secure access
Now that there are over 364 million LinkedIn users, company social media accounts comprise a large part of their marketing strategies. Therefore, employers need to be mindful of how their social media posts are representing their company, and are their staff sufficiently trained in what information they are spreading? Social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have become so widespread that a workplace cannot be successful without utilising it to our advantage. However, this creates issues surrounding its misuse. The distinction between private and public, and working life versus home life, has blurred. According to Ofcom, we spend more time using technology than sleeping. In the media industries, while it does not make sense to ban Facebook and other social media such as blogging sites during working hours, it is important to self-police against discrimination, misconduct and harassment on social media and IT.
In cases where problematic social media posts occur outside work, the notion of ‘the right to privacy’ is thought-provoking. Some suggest that privacy rights are not applicable as the internet is a public domain, while others say that privacy rights should still apply on social media accounts. The unprecedented nature of cases such as these (Civil servant sacked for offensive Wikipedia edits on Hillsborough) means that the legal framework is still in a grey area, and the right to freedom of expression may now depend on the nature of your employment. Therefore, a clear internet and social media usage policy is essential, to clarify expectations for employees and for legal protection in the event of any misconduct.
The feedback from our guests after this event was extremely positive, with praise for the organisation and guestlist, and the fabulous venue made a great impression. Russell and Richard facilitated an open and interesting debate on the subject matter, with entertaining introductions from our own Alastair Waddington and Anne Fenton. We’re looking forward to the next one, and hopefully our guests left with a clearer understanding of how to avoid any social media “HR accidents”!