Employers panic to remote workers through Spy Software–Part 1
When the email was sent by the employer.
“We’re watching you”, it told by Axos Financial Inc. to their workers who work from home. They are capturing their workforce’ keystrokes and logging which websites they have visited. Every 10 minutes or so, they will take a screenshot.
So they get to work — or face the consequences.
“We saw individuals taking unfair advantage of flexible work arrangements,” Gregory Garrabrants, chief executive officer of the online bank, wrote in a March 16 message reviewed by Bloomberg News. In the absence of routine duties, staff “will be subject to disciplinary proceedings up to and including termination.”
Straight-up Big Brother, maybe, but it’s perfectly legal for businesses to keep an eye on employees as long as they reveal that they’re doing it. Digital surveillance has, of course, been used for office desktops for years, yet it appears to be a breach of privacy for many workers when they are required to have software on their computers that tracks every move they make in their own homes.
Workers in different companies have complained of excesses, but many of them are new to telecommunications, with their temptations of a midday sieve or the demands of children out of school. Employers justify going full Orwell by saying that monitoring reduces security breaches, which can be costly, and helps keep the wheels of trade moving.
With so many people working remotely due to the coronavirus, surveillance software is flying off the virtual shelves.
“Companies have been scrambling,” said Brad Miller, CEO of the InterGuard software surveillance company. “They are trying to allow their employees to work from home, but they are trying to maintain a level of security and productivity.”
Gregory Frost, spokesperson for Axos, said in a statement that “The enhanced monitoring of home-based workers that we have put in place will ensure that those members of our home-based workforce continue to meet the quality and productivity standards expected of all workers.”