Most workers are told of such policies, poll finds More than half the companies in a survey have monitored employees' use of the internet and e-mail, while about 30 per cent can monitor their phone calls. The study also found that about 84 per cent of companies had a personal-data policy and nearly 90 per cent of those communicated the policy to staff. The survey of 86 companies from a range of industries was carried out by the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management and the Privacy Commission. The two bodies yesterday welcomed the survey results, saying they demonstrated that employers were generally open with their staff about any monitoring measures they took. A similar survey conducted in 2000 found only 20 per cent of firms had written personal-data policies. 'Open communication is important in securing employees' trust and important to the effectiveness of these monitoring measures,' said William Chan, who chairs the institute's data protection committee. Most of the companies surveyed had fewer than 500 employees. More than half were multinationals. The survey was conducted between August and September. Of the firms that monitored staff use of the internet, e-mail, phone calls or that used closed-circuit television, most cited security, monitoring improper behaviour and 'productivity monitoring' as the reasons. More than half said they only reviewed the information collected when they had a specific reason to do so. Acting Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data Tony Lam Wing-hong said compliance with personal data privacy regulations was easier for larger firms, but the commission would issue guidelines on workplace monitoring by the end of the month to help smaller companies comply. Mr Lam also welcomed a Law Reform Commission report issued on Thursday which recommended amending the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance to give the Privacy Commission the power to grant legal assistance to complainants. He said the commission would study the report closely before expressing any views on the proposals. The commission's chief privacy compliance officer, Vincent Li Sze-ping, meanwhile, said the office had been taking a more proactive approach to ensure companies complied with personal-data regulations instead of relying on complaints before acting.