The Sexual Offences Act 2003 (Amendment of Schedule 3 and 5) Order 2007 has been laid before Parliament for approval.
Amongst other things, the Order incorporates an offence of improper use of public communications networks. A person is guilty of an offence, if by means of a public communications network, a message or other matter, which is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character is sent. This could include sending emails of a sexual nature to a work colleague.
It is a concern that the new law may lead to an increase in the surveillance of employees’ emails.
The Order must be approved by both Houses before it can come into force. If it does, in serious cases, employees who send certain inappropriate e-mails could end up with prevention orders against them and could be entered on the Sex Offenders Register.