Ireland: The Trend Of BYOD: Personal Devices In The Workplace – Part 2

In Part 1 of this two-part series on BYOD (bring-your-own-device), we considered some of the common concerns companies have when thinking about, or implementing, BYOD in their organisation. This week, we examine the 3 stages of an employee's life-cycle in the context of BYOD. In particular, we look at how these stages of the life-cycle can help to inform the company's BYOD policy.

1. The Beginning - Disclosure is King

Employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the workplace. In Copland v. UK, the European Court of Human Rights held that by failing to notify the employee that telephone calls, e-mails or internet usage would be monitored, the employer violated the employee's human right to privacy. Therefore, because privacy and data protection are specific fundamental rights in Europe, if the employee's device will be monitored, it is essential that the BYOD policy transparently explains the scope of access (what information the company will access) and the purpose of the access (why the company will access that information).

The policy should also address how the company will go about protecting the private information that it comes into contact with when carrying out monitoring. Drafting a BYOD policy does not give the company a 'blank cheque' to closely examine everything in the device. The monitoring of the device has to be proportionate to the stated reasons for the monitoring. For example, if the purpose of the monitoring is to ensure that employees do not spend company time on personal matters, then monitoring may not be appropriate on weekends.

Secondly, the policy should explain what measures the employee must take in order to protect the data on the device, such as encryption, password protection to access the device, and limitation on the types of company information that can be stored on the device. Furthermore, the policy should discuss permitted use, including what content the employees are allowed to access from work. This will ensure that employees do not use the company network to access illegal or inappropriate material which can expose the company to liability, or material that heightens the risk of a network security breach.

In applying the BYOD policy, the company should ensure that employees are made aware of, and clearly agree to, the BYOD policy before the company approves the employee's use of a personal device and before the company accesses any information on that device.

2. The Middle - Review, Revise, Remind

The BYOD policy should be a living document that changes as both technology and the company's needs change. This can be achieved by following 'the three Rs':

  1. periodically review the policy to make sure that it accurately reflects the ways personal devices are used in the company;
  2. revise the policy to account for the evolution of industry security measures and changes to privacy legislation; and
  3. remind employees that they are bound to the terms of the BYOD policy.

The BYOD policy should provide that the company reserves the right to make certain minor changes to the policy without specifically informing employees. Companies should clearly notify employees of any material changes to the policy that impact employee rights and responsibilities; this aims to avoid an argument that the employees were not on notice. Additionally, companies should consider giving employees a grace period to adapt to substantial changes, and should let employees know that if they no longer agree to the policy they should refrain from using the device for work, and, optionally, may be required to deliver the device to IT to ensure that company proprietary information is properly and permanently deleted. Likewise, if an employee decides to upgrade the device, the company may also require the employee to bring the old device to IT for evaluation.

To enable the company to minimise risk, employees should be required to immediately notify the company if they suspect a data breach has occurred. The BYOD policy should provide that the company can remotely wipe the device in the event it is lost or stolen in order to protect company proprietary information.

Finally, the BYOD policy should discuss consequences for breach, such as employee liability for loss of proprietary company data or dismissal if a more serious violation occurs.

3. The End – Checking Out

It is important to have the 'end-of-life' terms agreed in the BYOD policy in advance, since not all employees may leave the company on good terms and even those that do may be sensitive to having their personal device accessed at the end of the employment relationship. In the US, the practice is to require employees to hand over their devices so that their contents can be reviewed and deleted as appropriate. This is a cumbersome exercise in itself and is actually resulting in a decrease in the use by employees of their own devices. This type of review is however something which is unlikely to be permitted in Ireland or Europe due to the aforementioned protections on employees' privacy rights, unless the BYOD policy explicitly permits this type of access and such permission is proportionate to the stated reasons for the access.

A company's BYOD policy should explain that the employee is required to permanently delete all company and employee information from the device before the end of the employment term. Furthermore, the company should consider whether the employee will be required to bring the device to IT for evaluation as part of the employee's 'exit interview'. Companies should also be prepared for a refusal by an employee to hand over his/her device and consider whether (a) it is technically possible to remotely wipe company data from the device and whether (b) such remote wiping would capture all data – company confidential data or the personal data of other employees. This will largely depend on the device used by the employee and whether the company obtained the proper employee consents in the BYOD policy.

Other considerations may include: whether the employee will be allowed to keep the phone number if the company owns the contract with the mobile network provider, and whether the employee will be required to sign a declaration confirming that all company information has been returned and/or destroyed.


Allowing BYOD without a BYOD policy can be a significant risk. The company can quickly lose control over its proprietary and confidential information, and could inadvertently breach its employees' fundamental right to privacy. In addition, even if the company has not sanctioned the use of personal devices for work, in all likelihood many employees are still putting company information on their devices. So, in the digital era, the age-old adage still holds true – "by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail." And by failing to prepare a clear BYOD policy, an organisation is preparing for increased exposure to a security or privacy breach.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions