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Ben Jones
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I would like to seek your advice on the following case, regarding

Resolved Question:

I would like to seek your advice on the following case, regarding the company (Veritek) that I work for. Ben at just answer gave me some advice previously, but I need to continue this case as I have had further communications with my employer as below.
They wish to introduce a tracking system on my company car. The system they want to use is Masternaut this will collect all data at all times, both for business and private journeys.
Whilst I object to the whole scheme, I do understand their business case and health and safety considerations.
My objection is that I don't wish my (or my Girlfriend's) private nor business journey details/data collected.
They have now written a policy on how the data will be used, but I need clarification if this satisfies the DPA what their intentions are and how this takes away my choice and human rights. At no time has my consent been asked for. I also purposely raised this as a specific question.
They have also recently changed the policy slightly in that they will not use proximity fob's to identify the actual drivers, but have associated a person to a vehicle, and in the event of an issue we would have to prove that who was driving if I was not.
I have always enjoyed the convenience of using my vehicle for private use and do pay back the monthly associated costs per mile rate. My Girlfriend (living together) is also authorised to use my car and is insured via the company.
It has been suggested that if I don't agree to the tracker, they would take away that privilege and say that's my choice.
As I understand it, The company is obliged to get my consent on collection of such data.
Do they need to gain my consent /agreement for either business or private data to be collected ?
I suggested as a compromise that they have a 'power off' privacy option / switch, so I can be confident that the private data would not be collected in the first instance.
Instead they will be collecting all the data and I would have to mark it as private or business via a remote app on a daily weekly or monthly basis. This means the data is on their system in the first instance, of which I object to.
I would like to seek clarification if the company has complied within the lawful remit of the DPA.
I did take some advice initially from Ben at 'just ask' website where I paid for an answer. This can be seen below.
They basically said that without consent it would rarely be justified.
I don't wish to make a formal grievance at this stage, but need to find out all the facts to establish if I can object totally or partially to the tracking system.
Veritek have a program scheduled in for April to have the trackers fitted to all the engineers vehicles, so time is against us. I guess once it is fitted there would be no going back.
Most of the other engineers also don't agree with the tracking policy and data collection and feel it is wholly inappropriate the way it is being forced upon us.
I can make a list of peoples names who have the same issue, if we need to build a bigger case.
Please also see the attached files.
Which outline FAQ, app operation and policy.
Hope you can help with my issue.
I am a service engineer working for Veritek Global.
***** *****ttle is one of my senior bosses.
Regards.
Mr ***** *****on *****
Blackrod
Bolton
BL65DN
07968 600171
01204 668161
*****@******.***
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: ***** *****on
To: "***** *****on (*****@******.***)"
Sent: Monday, 23 March 2015, 16:58
Subject: FW: Trackers
From: ***** *****on
Sent: 22 March 2015 14:22
To: ***** *****ttle
Cc: Human Resources
Subject: RE: Trackers
Gary,
Thanks for your reply.
Regards.
Andy.
From: ***** *****ttle
Sent: 20 March 2015 20:01
To: ***** *****on
Cc: Human Resources
Subject: RE: Trackers
Andrew,
Further to your enquiry;
As is rightly pointed out by your contract, Company Vehicles are the property of the company and therefore we have every right to track the movements of this vehicle. In terms of “obtaining consent” ; we believe we have given all our drivers plenty of notice of this plan and answered any questions/concerns with the assistance of both experienced personnel involved within the “Tracker” industry as well as legal advice.
With regard to the points made around the use of the data – we are fully aware of our obligations around the Data Protection Act. Any personal information regarding our employees is stored securely and is not shared
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones : Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. It appears your question was cut short and the full text is not visible could you please re-post it. Thanks
Customer:
I would like to seek your advice on the following case, regarding the company (Veritek) that I work for.

They wish to introduce a tracking system on my company car. The system they want to use is Masternaut this will collect all data at all times, both for business and private journeys.

Whilst I object to the whole scheme, I do understand their business case and health and safety considerations.

My objection is that I don't wish my (or my Girlfriend's) private nor business journey details/data collected.

They have now written a policy on how the data will be used, but I need clarification if this satisfies the DPA what their intentions are and how this takes away my choice and human rights. At no time has my consent been asked for. I also purposely raised this as a specific question.

They have also recently changed the policy slightly in that they will not use proximity fob's to identify the actual drivers, but have associated a person to a vehicle, and in the event of an issue we would have to prove that who was driving if I was not.

I have always enjoyed the convenience of using my vehicle for private use and do pay back the monthly associated costs per mile rate. My Girlfriend (living together) is also authorised to use my car and is insured via the company.

It has been suggested that if I don't agree to the tracker, they would take away that privilege and say that's my choice.

As I understand it, The company is obliged to get my consent on collection of such data.

Do they need to gain my consent /agreement for either business or private data to be collected ?

I suggested as a compromise that they have a 'power off' privacy option / switch, so I can be confident that the private data would not be collected in the first instance.

Instead they will be collecting all the data and I would have to mark it as private or business via a remote app on a daily weekly or monthly basis. This means the data is on their system in the first instance, of which I object to.

I would like to seek clarification if the company has complied within the lawful remit of the DPA.

I did take some advice initially from Ben at 'just ask' website where I paid for an answer. This can be seen below.

They basically said that without consent it would rarely be justified.

Some background info...

Previously I worked for Fujifilm for 20+ years until May 2014 when we were 'Touped' to Veritek along with our protected T&C's. From my point of view a major term and condition was of my choice of company vehicle and my options ie opting in or out of private use, taking benefit in kind tax or repaying private use. Also I had a choice of vehicle and an option to opt out ie buy my own car and take the £600 or so payment in leu of, plus 40p per mile etc. Veritek force me to have a particular make model and colour of car and now wish to impose a tracking system on us without our consent. I do think they are in breach of the DPA rules.

I don't wish to make a formal grievance at this stage, but need to find out all the facts.

Veritek have a program scheduled in for April to have the trackers fitted to all the engineers vehicles, so time is against us. I guess once it is fitted there would be no going back.

Most of the other engineers also don't agree with the tracking policy and data collection and feel it is wholly inappropriate the way it is being forced upon us.

I can make a list of peoples names who have the same issue, if we need to build a bigger case.

Please also see the attached files.

Which outline FAQ, app operation and policy.

Hope you can help with my issue.

I am a service engineer working for Veritek Global.

***** *****ttle is one of my senior bosses.

Regards.

Mr ***** *****on

8 Coniston Road

Blackrod

Bolton

BL65DN

07968 600171

01204 668161

*****@******.***







----- Forwarded Message -----
From: ***** *****on <*****@******.***>
To: "***** *****on (*****@******.***)" <*****@******.***>
Sent: Monday, 23 March 2015, 16:58
Subject: FW: Trackers







From: ***** *****on
Sent: 22 March 2015 14:22
To: ***** *****ttle
Cc: Human Resources
Subject: RE: Trackers


Gary,
Thanks for your reply.

Regards.

Andy.




From: ***** *****ttle
Sent: 20 March 2015 20:01
To: ***** *****on
Cc: Human Resources
Subject: RE: Trackers



Andrew,

Further to your enquiry;


As is rightly pointed out by your contract, Company Vehicles are the property of the company and therefore we have every right to track the movements of this vehicle. In terms of “obtaining consent” ; we believe we have given all our drivers plenty of notice of this plan and answered any questions/concerns with the assistance of both experienced personnel involved within the “Tracker” industry as well as legal advice.


With regard to the points made around the use of the data – we are fully aware of our obligations around the Data Protection Act. Any personal information regarding our employees is stored securely and is not shared outside the Company without the consent of the individual. This applies to any data collated by the system on private mileage incurred; it is considered confidential and not shared or used for any purpose without the consent of the individual. There is also no intention or inclination to proactively monitor the private activities of our drivers. It is also important to remember the benefits of the system recording private mileage, as this allows more accuracy in terms of private mileage deductions and tax implications.


We have a clear system for differentiating between a business and a private journey, which you are able to set yourself. Therefore we do not feel that a “power off” button is necessary.


If you are still unhappy with this situation, then you do of course have the option to opt out of personal use of your vehicle which will mean that the tracker will only be recording business journeys.


Regards


Gary





From: ***** *****ttle
Sent: 19 March 2015 10:36
To: ***** *****on
Cc: Human Resources (*****@******.***)
Subject: RE: Trackers




Andrew,

As advised, I will share your comments with HR and management team and provide you with a response.


Regards


Gary






From: ***** *****on
Sent: 19 March 2015 10:08
To: ***** *****ttle
Subject: RE: Trackers





Gary,

Further to the healthcare meeting at Agfa on the 18/03/2015.

There was a question I raised relating to the tracking system.

I asked if there was a requirement for gaining the individuals consent to Veritek collecting private journey data.

Please advise, if you have determined the need for a consensual agreement ?

As I understand it you said the data will be collected and it would be up to us to mark it as private after the event.

I have read the published Veritek’s policy and would not agree to have my private mileage tracking data collected in the first instance.

I am also concerned what the data would be used for, who would have access to it, how secure it was and how long it was retained.


Looking into the situation I have been advised of the following ‘company guidelines’ from the Information Commissioners Office.

From Ben Jones

Monday, September 08, 2014 4:39 AM EST

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. The starting point is that a company car is company property and an employer has a right to know its whereabouts. There are however certain procedures and guidelines that employers need to adhere to in order to keep within the law when undertaking such monitoring. Firstly, employees have a basic right to privacy under the Human Rights Act. One argument is that monitoring devices fitted to vehicles affect the employees’ right to privacy and is a breach of their basic human rights.

Secondly, monitoring of vehicle movements where the vehicle is allocated to a specific driver and where information about the performance of the vehicle can be linked to a specific individual will fall within the scope of the Data Protection Act 1998. As such, the tracking data is likely to amount to ‘personal data’ under data regulation principles and be subject to certain regulations. The following is guidance published by the Information Commissioners Office, which deals with data protection rights:

a) Where private use of a vehicle is allowed, monitoring its movements when used privately, without the freely given consent of the user, will rarely be justified;

b) If the vehicle is for both private and business use, it ought to be possible to provide a ‘privacy button or similar arrangement to enable the monitoring to be disabled during private use;

c) Where an employer is under a legal obligation to monitor the use of vehicles, even if used privately, for example by fitting a tachograph to a lorry, then the legal obligation will take precedence.

d) Tracking a vehicle without the drivers consent is illegal, whether for business purposes or not. The reason is because linking data to an individual person falls under the Data Protection Act 1998, which determines the rules for the collection, use and sharing of an individual’s information. The implications of using telematics or vehicle tracking systems without someone’s consent are considerable and constitutes an infringement of personal liberties.

e) Employers are therefore encouraged to have a specific policy for the use of vehicle monitoring and to make employees aware of its existence. Where possible, the above principles should be applied to ensure privacy is maintained when the vehicle is used solely for private use. Generally, the most common way of dealing with privacy issues in such circumstances is through the introduction of a specific monitoring policy and a privacy feature on the vehicle. You are free to raise your concerns with your employer and discuss the above information, trying to reach an amicable resolution. You can either do this informally or by raising a formal grievance. Remember that you have certain rights in these situations and that your employer should act reasonably and justify their actions as far as possible.

Hope this clarifies your position?


Reading the above and considering the commercial preference for Veritek to track our business journeys in business hours. I understand that I have minimal rights to refuse the tracking system to be fitted to my company vehicle. I am however unhappy with the policy as regards ***** *****

The only workable solution as I see it is to have a ‘POWER OFF’ switch option, which I’m sure could be easily incorporated into the vehicles installation.

This would satisfy both Veritek’s policy and my own personal concerns.

I will treat this communication as private and confidential.

Please advise.

Regards.

Andy.







From: ***** *****ttle
Sent: 09 March 2015 17:13
To: ***** *****; Alex Derbyshire; Alistair Montgomery; Alistair Munro; Andrew Cranston; Andy Frost; ***** *****on; Andy Nicholson; Andy Stott; Andy Denyer; Anil Fernando; Anthony Dunlop; Bernie Sharp; Brian Johnston; ***** *****on; B***** *****; Callum Dunne; Che Pearson; Chris Harley; Chris Hutchinson; Chris Sealy; Colin Daniels; Craig Davidson; Craig Lyman; Daniela Preti; Darren Jenkins; Darren Parker; Darryl Brown; Dave Angood; David Causton; Dave Medcroft; Dave Mulley; Dave Poole; Gareth Evans; Gary Downs; ***** *****; Geoffrey Moore; Giles Matthews; Gordon Thom; Graeme Dunn; Graham Gregor; Graham Taylor; Graham Webb; Hugh Doran; Ian Fraser; Ian Sales; ***** *****; ***** *****; ***** *****; James Surridge; Jane Harraway; ***** *****; Jimmy Chambers; John Forster; ***** *****; ***** *****; Karen Kinder; Keith Foulser; Ken Benjamin; Kevin Mead; Kevin Mearns; Kevin Stutt; Lee Fuller; Lloyd Scott; Marek Zglobica; Mark Baddeley; Mark Hayton; Mark Hearn; Mark Knowles; Martin Denyer; Martin Williams; Matt Wright; Michael Gill; ***** *****; Michael Spence; Nathan Davis; Neil Evans; Nick Dodsley; ***** *****; Nigel Jones; Nigel Sleightholm; Nigel Speight; Nishit Patel; Paddy Collins; Paul Denyer; Paul Ensor; ***** *****; Pete Nailor; Raj Theivamanoharan; Richard Castle; Richard Kennedy; Richard Neale; Richard Parsons; ***** *****; Rob Lowes; Robert Brett; Roland Brooks; Roy Munn; Russell Spicer; Ryan Stammers; Samantha Daniel; Scott Nicholson; Sean Dunne; Stan Cleghorn; ***** *****; Steven Travers; Stuart Madeley; Tim Blundell; Tim Andrews; Tim Haslum; Tim Regan; Tomas Heighway; Viet Pham; Vince Turner; Warren Berry
Subject: Trackers




All company car drivers,

After a number of month’s trialling and consideration of feedback from engineers involved in the trial, Veritek have selected a product from Masternaut to deploy in all company vehicles.


The solution is best suited for drivers in that it will;

· remove the need for mileage sheets

· provide a simple app for indicating business/private journeys

· identify driver by individual key fob

· provide evidence in case of accidents


From a business perspective, it will:

· reduce fuel consumption

· reduce vehicle running costs

· facilitate our duty of care with regard to driving hours and breaks

· lower our insurance costs


For our customers, it will;

· help better provide eta information

· help advise of delays associated with traffic congestion



You will receive further communication for an appointment to have the unit fitted to your vehicle. The fitting is intended to start in first week of April.


A copy of the full company policy is attached.


If you have any questions, in first instance please speak with your line Manager.


Regards.


Gary
















***** *****ttle
Head of Service Operations


Description: Description: Description: cid:*****@******.***



Veritek House

Edgeland Terrace
Eastbourne
East Sussex
BN22 9NJ



Tel: +44 (0) 1323 500200
Fax: +44 (0) 1323 500501
Mob: +44 (0) 7968 600120
Email: *****@******.***
Web: http://www.veritekglobal.com






















Customer:

I also have some attachments for reference if I could send them via email etc...

Ben Jones :

Hi, sorry I was offline by the time you had replied. It appears that there is a bit of a stand off here between yourself and the employer in terms of the usage of this monitoring function on company vehicles. Whilst there are specific laws that deal with data protection and human rights, you are mainly relying on non-statutory guidance here and various interpretations of the regulations. So there would be no direct or specific law which deals with the situation and you are going to have to try and apply the laws to your situation as best as you can. The issue with that is that one person’s interpretation will not necessarily match another person’s and if a difference in opinion exists the only way to resolve this for good is through court. The further issue that then arises is that one judge on one day could have a different opinion than another on a different day and there will always be a degree of uncertainty in such situations.

I understand that you have suggested a privacy button, which has been rejected and now the employer has proposed to collect the data and then to sort it into private or business usage. You object to that because you argue that the data would already be collected. The law says that the relevant data must be processed fairly and lawfully, obtained for lawful purposes, adequate and relevant, accurate, not kept by the company for longer than is necessary, treated in accordance with the employee's rights and kept securely. So it is actually possible for the employer to still collect the data if they keep to these principles, even if you object to it. This will all come down to whether it is considered the employer has satisfied these conditions – however, as mentioned you are relying on guidance only to assist you with this and an interpretation of that guidance, which is not as definitive as having a specific law in black and white.

Customer:

My interpretation of the guidelines are that why is it ever lawful just or proper for an employer to collect any data relating to me or my girlfriend, of private journeys, in my own personnel time against my will and without my consent albeit in a company car they own. The long standing precedent of using my vehicle for Private use is a separate issue. This is a Data collection issue. I have escalated this to the ICO for their guidance. Please advise where I can take this next.

Ben Jones :

your options of taking this further are as follows:

Ben Jones :

1. Internal grievance

Ben Jones :

2. Resignation and a claim for constructive dismissal in the employment tribunal

Ben Jones :

3. Making a complaint to the ICO

Ben Jones :

4. Going to court if you have suffered damages as a result of a breach of data protection (probably unlikely here as no losses have been or would be suffered)

Ben Jones :

Hope this clarifies your position?

Customer:

Yes thank you for your help.

Customer:

Regards.

Ben Jones :

you are welcome, all the best

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