The Legality of Keyloggers in the Workplace
Is there a keylogger iPhone software or are keyloggers just for computers? How to use a keylogger? Do I have to be an IT expert to use a keylogger? A keylogger is some sort of monitoring software that creates a record of everything that’s typed or keyed in into a computer or mobile keyboard. The legality of keylogger use is something that’s up for debate. So if you are wondering whether it’s legal for your boss to use a keylogger in the workplace, read on and find out.
What is a Keylogger?
Before we delve into the legality of keyloggers, let’s tackle the keylogger definition first. The concept of a keylogger can actually be broken down into two definitions.
This is the act or process of recording every key pressed on the keyboard of a target device.
Keylogger or keystroke logger tools pertain to devices, programs, or software that are used to log keystrokes. Keyloggers can either be hardware or software that record data from every keystroke into a text file that could then be retrieved at the user’s convenience.
Keylogger Uses and Applications
The debate over the use of keyloggers usually revolves around its legal as well as its ethical use. Keylogger tools, both software and hardware, are entirely legal. Here are a number of a keylogger’s legitimate uses:
Law enforcement agencies can use keyloggers to track a suspect’s cyber activity during a criminal investigation. Of course, they have to obtain a warrant before keyloggers can be installed.
Product Development and IT Troubleshooting
Some companies, especially those dealing with computer-related products, can use keyloggers to gather user feedback as well as to improve their products. Keyloggers can also be used to collect data on user problems for quick and accurate IT troubleshooting.
Business Server and Employee Monitoring
Companies can install keyloggers on company-owned computers and other mobile electronic devices. These can be installed on devices directly issued to specific employees or on devices that can be used by everyone in the workplace. The use of keyloggers allows employers or business owners to ensure the appropriate use of company devices, monitor employee productivity, as well as protect company files and trade secrets.
Keyloggers can also be effective parental control and child monitoring tools. It allows parents to remotely monitor devices of their kids. This keeps them in the loop on their kids’ in-device activities and online engagements. For instance, the best keyloggers can notify parents whenever their kids are accessing adult or other supposedly restricted websites.
Keylogger in the Workplace – Is It Legal?
Several factors must be taken into consideration when determining the legality of using a keylogger. Complete disregard of these factors would make using a keylogger both illegal and criminal. Here are the main factors:
There are varying degrees of consent when it comes to keylogger use. This could determine whether the use of a keylogger is perfectly legal (there is clear and direct consent from the device owner), ethically questionable but still legal (permission is incorporated in obscure languages such as in terms of service or contracts), or downright illegal (there is no permission of any kind).
This is a key determinant in the legality of keylogger use, whether in the workplace or in other circumstances. Keep in mind that keylogger tools are legal in themselves. It is the improper use of such tools that is illegal.
Another crucial factor is device ownership. In essence, it is perfectly legal to monitor your own device with the help of a keylogger. That said, business owners can use keyloggers to monitor company devices. Moreover, any work during the ordinary course of business on company equipment and over a company’s digital network is usually subject to monitoring. Legal consensual keylogger use implies that the person using the keylogger is the device owner, product manufacturer, or legal guardian of a minor using the device. So an employer can install keylogger software on company computers in the same way that parents can use keylogger for iPhone or Android on their minor child’s device.
The legality of keylogger use must, of course, be in line with any governing laws. Most rules and laws governing keylogger use, particularly in the workplace, are at the state level. Hence, there will be variations in the terms of usage of a keylogger from state to state.
When it comes to the use of keyloggers in the workplace, it could either fall under legal consensual use or legal but ethically ambiguous use. Either way, the use of keyloggers in the workplace is essentially legal. Under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and the Stored Communications Act, firms or companies are allowed to track employee activities without prior notification. But then again, other conditions may be applicable depending on the state.
Keyloggers are helpful tools when it comes to employee surveillance. It helps employers or companies ensure that company devices are used for work-related things instead of social media browsing or worse, dark web diving. Keyloggers along with other reliable employee monitoring software can help positively drive employee productivity as well as keep company data secure. If you wish to use one but are at a loss as to how to start looking for the right keylogger tool, you can start with reliable software like Highster Mobile or Auto Forward. These tools are perfect keylogger monitoring and overall activity tracking tools.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does a keylogger do?
A keylogger can either be software or hardware that tracks every keystroke made on a computer or mobile keyboard. Keyloggers record the gathered keystroke data into a text file that could then later be retrieved by the user.
Why do companies use keyloggers?
Companies mainly use keyloggers for employee monitoring. This includes monitoring employee productivity as well as the appropriateness of company device usage. Some companies also use keyloggers for product development and improvement as well as for IT monitoring.
Are keyloggers legal?
Keyloggers are perfectly legal tools. It is improper to use that makes the act of keylogging illegal. The legality of keylogger use can be determined by key factors including the degree of consent involved, the ownership of the monitored device, the actual purpose of keylogger monitoring, and the governing laws, specifically at the state level.
Are there any safe keyloggers?
Yes, there are a number of keyloggers that are safe to use, both for the person doing the monitoring as well as the person being monitored. You can either choose between keylogger hardware or software. You can also opt to use cell phone monitoring software that enables keylog monitoring as well as other in-device and online monitoring. You can try Highster Mobile or Auto Forward for such purposes.