Been Working From Home?

Working from home? You’re probably being spied on

Excerpt: Rather than being trusted to accomplish their jobs out of physical view, a startling number of employees are being tracked and measured through privacy-invasive software which can surveil their web browsing habits, track their app usage, monitor their screen time—periodically capturing screen images—and even transcribe their phone calls. The fascination with digital workplace surveillance software—sometimes called “bossware”—is increasing, according to a recent survey funded by ExpressVPN, in collaboration with Pollfish. Of the 2,000 employers surveyed, 57 percent “implemented employee monitoring software in the past six months.” Of those that had not deployed such software, 59 percent said they were “very or somewhat likely” to do so in the future. (…) In the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, as thousands of companies shifted to WFH models, a certain panic arose regarding potential, lowered productivity. The combination of removing workers from a potentially collaborative in-office environment, expecting them to simultaneously tackle childcare and work, and hoping they can manage the stress of a global pandemic, often led corporate leaders to believe that their employees’ productivity would slow to a crawl. Those concerns, it appears, led to increased demand for digital workplace surveillance software. [Been working from home, Folks? Playing a few hands of poker when you’re supposed to be working? Big Brother–or Big Boss–may have been watching. It seems this is a growing issue. This is worth reading, though it offers no real solutions. Alan25main]

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In early 2020 just before we started covid WFH, a coworker was telling me his work issued laptop was at 100% disk usage. He hadn’t used much storage and couldn’t find any reason for the disk to be full. He called our companies IT support desk to look into it. They found a hidden directory only visible to the system administrator containing several hundred gigabytes of audio recordings (we don’t get admin rights on our work computers so he wouldn’t been able to see these files himself).

The IT tech who was helping him emailed a few of the files to see if he knew what they were. My coworker listened to them and found they were recording of himself at work and home, including personal conversations with his family. For unknown reasons his laptop had been recording everything it was hearing for some time.

We strongly encouraged him to complain to both our companies HR department and even the government, but he was working on a visa (he was an Indian gentleman trying to get Canadian citizenship) and was too afraid of what might happen as a result. He just asked the IT tech to delete the files for him and he tried to forget about it.

I’ve been putting tape over both the microphone and camera on my laptops, work and personal, for over 10 years. Even to this day people think I’m paranoid for doing so.

I do have my camera lens covered, but the microphone is merely turned off. On the other hand, other than music I’m playing, there is almost nothing for anyone to hear–and since I’m retired, no one to answer to, anyway. So, I can be relatively fearless. How many younger folks have that liberty? “Few” would be my guess.

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bump!

greetings…I actually run ExpressVPN on my computer. I have no complaints so far. I only run thru my firestick and computer. wanted to check for speed issues before running it thru my router.
Very nice heads up for folks…
the comment about the audio recordings is creepy at best.