Workplace Surveillance

107690079Shockwaves of anger are still bouncing across America after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden exposed the governments phone and internet surveillance program last year.

We are outraged by the very idea of our government, people we elected, narrowing its watchful eye on us, the people. I think most Americans were shocked to learn that spy software technology was real, and not just something from a Bond film. Snowden spoke of an agency out of control, using technology to read emails and listen to phone calls. He revealed that they would lift nude photos  from private citizens cloud storage, these photos were then circled around the NSA office like watercooler gossip.

Is this yet another example of technology outpacing the law?

A spyware industry is growing under our very noses, focused on helping employers monitor their employees work devices. Why doesn’t it carry the same negative connotation as the NSA spying does?

Remember when phones, computers and company cars were just generous job perks. Those days are gone. Companies now spend significant money hiring security teams  to monitor device usage. They bring in specialist to track worker productivity. With the help of spy software, workers are being held accountable for every unproductive minute of their day.

It all seems rather Dickensian in nature. The proverbial controlling boss watchful of our every move.  When profits are at an all time high, and worker pay hasn’t significantly increased in nearly two decades. Didn’t we earn those perks? So where is the outrage?

Corporate heads consistently cite profitability as the basis but CEO’s make three hundred times the average worker? Where is the oversight for them Who is monitoring the CEO’s phone and devices? Why do we tolerate being spied on in the workplace, while a handful of people make decisions that cost companies millions, shoot down moral and drive employees away? Corporate heads make huge sweeping decisions that can be far reaching, like, what the auto companies have done to Detroit. Once an American jewel now a wasteland. So the question arises, where is the specialist evaluating their cost versus productivity?

The other argument for spy software on company devises is that it prevents unquestionable behavior during work hours but the internet is filled with examples of both workers and management alike, misbehaving on company time. With that kind of logic, unless you work for a privately owned company everyone should be on the chopping block.

So where does it stop?


There are now dozens of companies fighting for the right to spy on corporate employees. Last year, one such company,  mSpy, started selling software preloaded smartphones. This allows employers the ability to capture data from voice calls, emails, texts, Skype, GPS location and more. And as a bonus, if an employee is fired or quits their smartphone can be locked remotely.

Squeezing worker idleness into productivity dollar signs is great in theory but is it really cost effective?

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