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World Teleworking: spyware for mass surveillance of employees

14:50  27 october  2020
14:50  27 october  2020 Source:   rfi.fr

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La vie privée des employés est protégée dans nombreux pays, mais les entreprises surveillent de plus en plus leurs activités en télé-travail. Ici, une employée et son chat à Sassenheim, aux Pays-Bas le 2 octobre 2020. © REUTERS / Eva Plevier Employee privacy is protected in many countries, but companies are increasingly monitoring their teleworking activities. Here, an employee and her cat in Sassenheim, the Netherlands on October 2, 2020.

Teleworking had already taken an increasing place in the daily life of employees in recent years, and it is experiencing an unprecedented acceleration in 2020 with the epidemic of Covid-19. But, a negative consequence of this development, companies are deploying software systems en masse to monitor their employees remotely, according to a survey by ISG.

Fears of widespread cybersurveillance in the world of work would not be mere fantasies of grumpy employees, according to an survey published in June 2020 by the consulting firm ISG, specialist in research and technology consulting for large international groups.

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The Telework Enhancement Act defines telework or teleworking as a work flexibility arrangement under which an employee performs the duties and responsibilities of such employee 's position, and other authorized activities, from an approved worksite other than the location from which the

Employee privacy in the US is at stake as corporate surveillance technology monitors workers' every move. The emergence of sensor and other technologies that let businesses track, listen to and even watch employees while on company time is raising concern about corporate levels of surveillance .

Examining more than 2,000 companies around the world, the study reveals that sales of software to monitor employees in telecommuting have increased by more than 500% since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic .

Widespread in the United States, the practice is regulated in France

In France, the National Commission for Informatics and Freedoms (Cnil) has provided for a number of safeguards intended to protect teleworkers . These include the principle of proportionality in the exercise of this supervision and the obligation to inform staff representatives. As Alexandre Lazarègue, a lawyer at the Paris Bar specializing in digital law, explains, the employer cannot "legally" use these tools "against his employee".

Screenshots, recording of keystrokes, clicks and conversations, photos via the webcam, etc.

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An employee 's "eligibility" for telework does not automatically confer the right or the obligation for an employee to "participate" in telework . The telework agreement provides the framework for the discussion that needs to take place between the manager and the employee about expectations.

These software programs make it possible to collect a great deal of information from the employee. One of the more sophisticated, called Hubstaff, offers to take a screenshot of the employee's computer every five minutes, or to track GPS data from employee phones.

Much more intrusive, CleverControl promises, with a lot of advertising inserts on the web, to "detect the slackers". Do this by recording keystrokes and mouse clicks from the teleworker. This system also captures employee conversations through computer microphones, and even takes a webcam photo to verify that they are at their post.

These software are certainly very sophisticated, can be installed easily remotely and without your knowledge on equipment delivered by your company or on your personal computer. But their use by employers is completely illegal, at least and for the moment in France, it should be clarified.

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This is interesting!