Employee Surveillance: Business Efficiency Vs. Worker Privacy - InformationWeek

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Employee Surveillance: Business Efficiency Vs. Worker Privacy
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SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
3/22/2016 | 8:47:37 AM
Keep it Simple
My take on this is probably overly simplistic but I've been doing it for a very long time and have been on the employer side of watching someone's every move.  If you think making an IT team go over months of logged data looking for the one time someone clocked in late makes a company more efficient then you haven't given this the thought that it deserves.  My belief is that surveillance is for company loss, either of assets or time due to injury.  If you're counting the minutes someone is out for lunch but you expect them to answer company related calls, email, texts after normal business hours then you're doing it wrong. I haven't held a position in 20 years that did not expect me to respond to a pager/phone/email on my days off or after hours.  If an employer ever chastised me about being 10 minutes late back from lunch, I can imagine how the conversation after that would go.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
3/22/2016 | 12:56:49 PM
Re: Keep it Simple
Amen @SaneIT. I remember when I was working for consulting firm that one client had a manager who was complaining about paying for consultant time when they were in bathroom. And this from someone too incompetent to know good IT work from bad IT work. If she knew what she was doing they wouldn't needed us in first place.

I remember there was big fuss on shopfloor when we deployed video monitoring of facilities years ago. But like article says, it was for safety/theft reasons. We never had anyone routinely monitor footage for any reason. Now, employees rely on it to help them. We had theft recently where someone (we suspect truck driver) stole a wallet from one of guys locker. He was disappointed when learning the entrance to locker room was in blind spot that day due to some product being stacked in the line of sight.

But I don't think day too far off where we are always under watch, just won't be employers, will be government. The technology is already in place. The interesting issue will be if government decides to share that with employers in future. Could give background checks a whole new meaning....
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
3/22/2016 | 4:23:16 PM
Re: Keep it Simple
TerryB,

Fair enough points raised by you here.

As the FBI and the NSA clearly pointed out-The IoT Wave gives them enormous oppurtunities to track and follow through on as much surveillance as they desire for all citizens.

Its going to very soon be a situation where if you are connected to the Internet-Your Online Digital Footprint is going to be visible in its entirety to all and sundry.

Frightening situation I know;but with the Information that Google is nothing but an extended arm of the CIA this is probably already happening currently-libertyblitzkrieg.com/2016/03/21/clinton-emails-reveal-googles-role-in-attempting-to-oust-syrias-assad

 

See no evil? I think not today!!!!


 
Ashu001
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Ashu001,
User Rank: Ninja
3/22/2016 | 4:28:08 PM
Re: Keep it Simple
SaneIT,

Great-GReat points!!!

Agree entirely.

Companies even if they want to don't really have the resources in place to enforce the Nanny-state.

The Government though?Is a totally different matter on this issue.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
3/23/2016 | 9:15:41 AM
Re: Keep it Simple
I don't doubt that there are enough companies tracking each one of us that a profile of our regular day would be easy to build but tying them all together would be a monumental task, even for a government.  Our camera system is used for similar purposes, a box missing after a truck is unloaded is the most frequent use.  At first everyone assumed it was a Big Brother type of move but no one has the time to sit and watch every single camera all day long.  I've had to dig through files, emails, texts, etc., looking for suspected wrong doing.  It isn't a fun task and people really seem to overestimate how much an employer really wants to see.  In most cases I think it's one bad manager abusing something like a security camera that gets everyone worried about being watched.  My point though is that even those of us who keep normal office hours end up doing more work from home, the road, restaurants, on vacation, on weekends that a long break one day shouldn't be something an employee is harassed about.
TerryB
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TerryB,
User Rank: Ninja
3/23/2016 | 12:40:49 PM
Re: Keep it Simple
I've wondered how many companies are as enlightened as one I work for. I've had remote access from home for very long time, never had any pressure to be in office at 8am and leave at 4pm. At this point, I get in about 8:15 after getting my daughter on school bus and usually leave by 3:30, hardly an 8 hour work day or 40 hour week. But I'm consistent, users know my schedule and can find me easily, even at home. That is key. I had guy working for me who irritated users because you never knew if he was coming in at 8 or 10 and wouldn't answer his cell most of time. That won't cut it.

I live in Green Bay now after growing up in south Ohio. It is standing joke here if it is snowing of any significance, I'm VPN'ing from home. Like I tell them, can't get much work done sitting in traffic or ditch when some idiot runs me off road. :-)  I'm actually leaving early today, supposed to get up to 14" of snow by noon tomorrow. Spring in Wisc.

 
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
3/23/2016 | 9:13:31 PM
Re: Keep it Simple
@SaneIT - I sooooooo agree with you on this - my feeling is: it all works out in the end.  The days of counting an employees hours to the minute for pay purposes is so outdated especially in the information age. 

People at my company are always paranoid if they need to hand over their password for us to log in to their system.  I assure them, we don't have time to monitor you in that way (the servers do it for us) and so long as you aren't doing something to jeopardize the network, we don't care if you are playing solitare all afternoon (from an IT perspective anyway, that's an HR issue as far as we are concerned).
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
3/23/2016 | 9:22:07 PM
Re: Keep it Simple
On another note, at my firm, we have keycard access to get us into the parking lot and also the elevator banks for security reasons after someone threatened one of our employees.  One day I left my car in the garage overnight because the battery died.  I got called to HR to ask why I didn't swipe out and had to explain precisely what happened.  (I took an uber home, AAA came the next day with a new battery, etc.)  I was completely shocked over that level of surveillance.  It still leaves a bad taste in my mouth - they made it very clear they are watching.
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
3/23/2016 | 11:42:24 PM
Re: Keep it Simple
vnewman, I tell you what, your company definitely doesn't outsource its security, and if it does, the vendor is doing an amazing job. But seriously, doesn't your company HR have more things to worry about? Healthcare reform and employee benefits? Defined-benefit pension plans in this tumultuous market? Scarcity of talent and hiring lazy millennials??!!
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
3/24/2016 | 8:23:58 AM
Re: Keep it Simple
@TerryB, I'd count yourself somewhat lucky that flexibility is not quite normal yet and practically unheard of for most roles in any company.  I've been doing remote access for 20+ years in some sense but there is always the expectation of a minimum of 40 hours in the office.  I have never worked for a company where everyone went home at 5PM so in all the years I've been in an IT role I've never known what it is like to stop working based on a clock.  I do keep my office hours very strict because if I don't it would be easy to fall into very long days.  As it is I log in before leaving for work so I can prioritize my day during my commute.  Right now I see the expectation of flexibility as a one way street, even in companies that from the outside look to give employees a great deal of leeway. I left a job 10 years ago where flexibility meant someone will be calling you at 3AM at least 3 times a week but your office hours are 9 to 6 at a minimum without exception. 
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