#AceSecurityReport – July.03: The services often sound relatively innocuous. Some vendors bill their tools as “automatic time tracking” or “workplace analytics” software. Others market to companies concerned about data breaches or intellectual property theft: We’ll call these tools, collectively, “bossware.” While aimed at helping employers, bossware puts workers’ privacy and security at risk by logging every click and keystroke, covertly gathering information for lawsuits, and using other spying features that go far beyond what is necessary and proportionate to manage a workforce: This is not OK……..When a home becomes an office, it remains a home. Workers should not be subject to nonconsensual surveillance or feel pressured to be scrutinised in their own homes to keep their jobs:
#Coronavirus Report: Inside the Invasive, Secretive “Bossware” Tracking Workers at home during the #pandemic that can even be logging every stroke on your keyboard
InterGuard advertises that its software “can be silently and remotely installed, so you can conduct covert investigations [of your workers] and bullet-proof evidence gathering without alarming the suspected wrongdoer.”
What can they do?
Bossware typically lives on a computer or smartphone and has privileges to access data about everything that happens on that device: Most bossware collects, more or less, everything that the user does: We looked at marketing materials, demos, and customer reviews to get a sense of how these tools work: There are too many individual types of monitoring to list here, but we’ll try to break down the ways these products can surveil into general categories.
The broadest and most common type of surveillance is “activity monitoring.” This typically includes a log of which applications and websites workers use: It may include who they email or message—including subject linesand other metadata—and any posts they make on social media. Most bossware also records levels of input from the keyboard and mouse—for example, many tools give a minute-by-minute breakdown of how much a user types and clicks, using that as a proxy for productivity. Productivity monitoring software will attempt to assemble all of this data into simple charts or graphs that give managers a high-level view of what workers are doing.
Every product we looked at has the ability to take frequent screenshots of each worker’s device, and some provide direct, live video feeds of their screens: This raw image data is often arrayed in a timeline, so bosses can go back through a worker’s day and see what they were doing at any given point: Several products also act as a keylogger, recording every keystroke a worker makes, including unsent emails and private passwords: A couple even let administrators jump in and take over remote control of a user’s desktop: These products usually don’t distinguish between work-related activity and personal account credentials, bank data, or medical information.
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