People In Tech

Employers are Spying On You While WFH 🕵🏾‍♂️

August 31, 2020
People In Tech
Employers are Spying On You While WFH 🕵🏾‍♂️
Chapters
People In Tech
Employers are Spying On You While WFH 🕵🏾‍♂️
Aug 31, 2020

Did you know your employer could be spying on you while you are working from home? Want to know how they are doing it?

How?
Ever since the pandemic more and more employees are requesting to WFH. Reports are coming out stating more than 70% of employee want to continue WFH even after the pandemic. This has employers concerned. Employers are investing in surveillance software, Tools like prodoscore, hubstaff, interguard and more are becoming more popular. 

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Show Notes Transcript

Did you know your employer could be spying on you while you are working from home? Want to know how they are doing it?

How?
Ever since the pandemic more and more employees are requesting to WFH. Reports are coming out stating more than 70% of employee want to continue WFH even after the pandemic. This has employers concerned. Employers are investing in surveillance software, Tools like prodoscore, hubstaff, interguard and more are becoming more popular. 

Want to know more about this topic?
Sign up for our mailing list on our site.

Follow Us:
Where listeners can find you online:

Support the show (https://patreon.com/People_In_Tech)

Unknown Speaker :

tech people, your employers are watching you as we speak. As you are you listening, welcome to the people in tech podcast, your resource for all things happening in tech. Join the conversation with your host, Caleb King. What's up listeners? Welcome back to the show today we got something that is actually happening to you right now as we speak, because the COVID-19 because of the pandemic, the reality is, many of you started working from home. Now, if you're like me, I love working from home. I had my setup already. I mean, I was good to go. But I know a lot of people, it was an adjustment and I understand that. Well, it was also an adjustment for employers and employers for the lifetime since people have worked for other people. They've had some way to micromanage to watch what you're doing and to make sure you're performing your job well. working from home kind of changed that dynamic. A lot of micro managers who can no longer watch or read over your shoulder as you work, they are now trying to find new ways to watch how you work. And reality is so many employers are not comfortable with you working from home because they're afraid, you'll be playing Netflix, you're playing Call of Duty Warzone, you're on Twitch or on YouTube, you're probably not even working that hard. You might be putting up a zoom video as if you're in a zoom meeting when you're not I mean, kids are creative these days. And employers are now implementing solutions to help monitor and track what exactly you're doing with remember, most likely their company property. So this episode, I'm gonna give you the breakdown on how they're watching you how they're spying on you, and what you need to be watching out for in the future. Because this is probably not going away anytime soon. Let's get into it. Make sure listeners to go check out people in tech.io sign up for an emailing list. join our Facebook group as we will have more exclusive content related to the podcast. Now on to the show. So many people are stuck working at home right now. And according to new surveys out there 77% of workers they want to continue to work from home. And once a pandemics over Look, I'm talking to my manager, you're probably talking to your boss. Hey, boss, look, I'm not trying to come in off. It's Monday through Friday. Why when I was so effective working from home during a pandemic, I mean COVID-19 pretty much accelerated the global embrace for remote working by at least 10 years. And so now you have 10s of millions of people that are suddenly remote, many who've been doing this for the first time. And it's such a new experience for many employers that They're freaking out. Like, they're the real fear of this whole send all your employees home, have them work from home. And this trust, they're not gonna watch Netflix, they're not gonna play video game they're not gonna do who knows what they're doing. And that fear, like most things, is causing a new movement of technology solutions. And I haven't come up with like a coin term form yet, but they're pretty much micromanagement software. They are trying to find ways to track your performance, trying to figure out how productive you are. When you're logged in when you're doing something. Again, it's a big brother to point out to reality is some of these employers somebody the manager is somebody that I call old school people because that's what it is in your industry. They just don't trust you working from home at least not full time. Now, the benefit of COVID-19 and do not Too many, but one of them is some people after the pandemic is over, I think you're gonna see a hybrid model, I think you're gonna see a lot more people who are willing to say, let me work from home part time, let me come in office two, three times a week. Or if you're like me, Hey, I just really won't be far from home. 80% and like, let me come in on like big meetings, because some people are more effective. Some people aren't. But the question employers are having, how do you know who is productive and who isn't? Before we even jump into how or how we got to talk about how does this work? Like how do employers have the right to even monitor what you're doing? And unfortunately, when we start a new job, guys, we sign off on a lot. We sign off a lot of our rights away. I mean, if anybody has ever had like that, welcome to x company. Welcome to accompany welcome your new software developer you didn't new IT person, you're the new salesperson marketing product, whatever position you are, you probably signed that big pile paperwork on your first day. And a lot of the fine print in that big stack of paperwork, talks about the many ways of surveillance talks about how you are being lent company property in a MacBook and a PC and some tablet and some working computer to allow you to do your job. And anybody if you don't know you don't believe me, go to somebody in it and tell ask them hey, is there any way you can track what I'm doing? A lot of you know the answer to that because you've had problems working from home right now. And what you do do you call the IT department and a lot of times they can walk you through it but sometimes it's just like hey, kind of take over your computer and help you out here. If you ality is companies on the assets. And even before the pandemic, guys, I hate to say it, they've been monitoring you. And they've been doing surveillance on you for longer than you think. And again, it all goes back to that paperwork you sign when you first get started. The reality to me is, this monitoring is not new. what's scary about it is they're using technology, artificial, intelligent cloud solution. And if anything, it could be more precise, it can be more efficient. And it's going to keep people on their toes because I know some people right now who are great at their job, but their job is to demand the best out of them. So they just do the bare minimum, and they get away with it. And I think you're gonna start seeing his movement of these micro management solutions where they really can monitor and really gather a whole bunch of data on you and truly Evaluate, how are you doing working from home? Like, for example, in the UK, it's been very common to have biometric scanners for cleaners. That's right. The same people will come and clean up after your lunch, and then your late night snacks and all that those same people, they have been monitored, and they have been tracked for their performance. And there have biometric scanners for cleaners who know how long they've been in the room for and know how quickly things have been done. And so it's a lot of these technologies that have been introduced already. And now they're starting to kind of flow up the chain of the workforce and use elsewhere. And I think that shifts are working. I mean, there's the shift of working from home means that many of these forms of surveillance, which perhaps, we've taken for granted, while we're at work, are now reaching into our homes. And that's what's making people feel uncomfortable. I mean, You a lot of times and you get a job, they would take you to some type of IT training and I'm talking it, let's just be more in general, they'll take you to some type of training during that training. They're gonna, depending on where you work, there is either some type of security training, what to do to the active shooter, you know, on the campus. So what to do if there's a fire drill, what do you do for certain events can happen at the workplace, even though that is for your protection. It's also for monitoring and alerting in surveillance and reconnaissance. And remember, is the business trying to protect their interests, and hiring good employees, you're a part of that interest. But remember, the business is trying to protect themselves. And you are just a extension of that. So I'll give you a few solutions out there. That way you can google it yourself. So there Some things out there right now. software like hubstaff, enter guard, where they're very, very transparent on the scores. And what the software technologies Ooh, they're probably built into your system where they can truly do a lot of surveillance and almost create like a CRM tool behind the scenes. So let me give you an idea. Like what I'm talking about the way they can surveillance you, alright, but I'm gonna start my lifts with the things that caught me off guard and I was like, what the, like, I couldn't I couldn't believe people were doing this, especially offering it as a service. So number one, taking screenshots of employee screens, making video recordings, and then offering live video feeds. While this may seem like a feature that really isn't invasive, just imagine someone taking a screenshot of your desktop every Friday. For 10 minutes, even worse, most employee monitoring software offerings video recordings, and some even offer constant live video feeds of every workstation member I talked about that big pile of paper you sign it is the company's property. So don't try to come to them like I got I know my right yeah, you have a right to work there to have the right to fire you pinyon where you live, of course. But here's a software that brags about this feature term of mine are no Tara mine correct. They are one of the most popular employee monitoring software's and they offer a live view and history playback. In other words, the software offers a live video feed of every workstation as well other means to completely spy on each employee. And guys, Tara Mine isn't doing one they got their like Coke, and then you got Pepsi and spray and all I mean all their derivatives all the competitors You have active track, you have no regard. But Tara mind is the most extreme example. And when I saw that, I just thought to myself, that probably wouldn't affect my rule because I write a lot of code for my job. But I would imagine somebody in customer support who might be taking a BuzzFeed survey about what avocado dish best describes their personality. Yeah, employer might want to know why are you not doing customer support or some jobs are very tedious about what employees are doing. And if you're on the clock, that means you are working and there should be no downtime. Now, places like that are not my cup of tea. But the reality is, if we all have to work, you know, we work to live and if you're in that situation, it's very possible. Your company, if you're working from home, too, is looking into something like tyramine, activetrack or enter guard to see what you are doing on your computer. This goes into number two, which again, I'm giving you the ones that caught me off guard. This is not the big, not the extensive list. If you want the extensive list, you got to go over to people on tech.io check out the blog post and sign up for email list. That way you get the entire list so you know what to watch out for. But number two, we're gonna be talking about key loggers. Now, some of you don't know what key logger is, is, it is as simple as the word explains it. It logs all your keystrokes. So keyword tracking can be very important for some companies, especially those dealing with technologies and solutions. And having a keyword tracker can save important company data that you stay within the company. So thinking about banking, financial institutions, health related industries, people have to deal with HIPAA or have to deal with PCI or has PII or some government type. level of data sensitivity they have to watch out for they have to make sure their data is, you know, secure. These companies might invest into a keylogger but keyloggers program that record every single letter type on a keyboard, or something else guys, and here, our old friend tyramine, you're gonna hear me pretty much mentioned him several times, they're added again. While many solutions such as hubstaff, and a guard, work examiner, dhafra, same feature, Tara mine out does them all. And they offer the most powerful keystroke logger capable of recording every single keystroke, capable of searching through a base of potential malicious keystrokes, capable of creating key show databases and more like data science for your typing. I mean, if you are, again, let's use me as an example if you are searching for how to do this in Java, how to do this and agile Key logging colleagues yield any malicious results. But if you are trying to go into your Gmail, then try go into your bank account and then try to go into a customer's profile. They had the ability to track, why would he go to his email, then go to his bank, then go to his customers profile, all within one sequence? Like what was the key sequence of events? That happened? Why were they happening? And should that raise a red flag? Which, let's go into number three, because I don't think this one It's too bad, but I don't think I don't see the value of doing it. I don't know. Oh, so number three, instant messaging, app monitoring. So well email monitoring and something that really shouldn't pose a big danger to privacy because after all, you're working. You should be using your work size business email. for work, and that's something that cannot be deemed as an extreme way of monitoring workforce. Because there's a lot of tools out there to ensure the emails that you're writing that you're sending. They don't contain, you know, confidential or restrictive type information, right? That's pretty common in today's world, but Skype, Slack, these chat type tools. Now, these employers are investigating on spying on your conversations. And in the case of an employee, if they use a third party app for private consultation like telegram Viber I am monitoring can become a clear breach of a worker's privacy. So, as in the case of most extreme way the monitoring employees most popular employee tracking solution offer I am tracking even if a program doesn't support I am monitoring directly. It can be used to monitor I am apps by screenshots, video recording and audio recordings or something similar. I think that would be a lot of work. But I'll tell you a story I worked at a place that I love working at. But we had a lot of personalities. And at this place, we had somebody who was going through a very tough time, probably with under the influence of a certain drink, not gonna say what it was, but got on slack and talking to me and my boy and a private group conversation. And someone is shit he was saying, guys, I mean, it was definitely kind of like is he fucked up right now like, and again, he wasn't mean or saying anything malicious, but he definitely went on a little bit of a tangent. And when I mentioned it to my boss, my boss is like I have to see the conversation. And again, much smaller company by remember my boss is like, I need you to send me an entire copy, copy and paste it and send it to me and I know for In fact, I went into that employee's HR profile. So, I mean, people kind of do it already if they can. So this tool I know a lot of work, but I can see employers trying to justify, like look, we can track your email, we should be able to track your conversations. Now, the last one I'll wrap up with because like I said, the list is very, very long guys. And I'm going to post it in my blog on my site, but I want to at least notify you another one that really stood out to me. geo fencing alert. Now geo fencing is basically an area limited by GPS coordinate coordinate, that make for a closed borders zone. We can be easily set up by picking up street that serve add borders, or just creating a zone by entering GPS locations. So some apps like mobile spy, offer geo fencing alert, the app lets a user set up a perimeter and to set custom alerts Activating each time a spy device goes beyond geo fencing zone. Now, this might be great for parents who are like, Where are you going? You're going over to Becky South? No, I see you left Becky's house, where are you going? That might be great if you're a overprotective parent, but for employees and employers, this is mind blowing. I mean, there's some positions out there where people are traveling, right? Like your salesperson and maybe your insurance. Maybe you have to go out to the property. Maybe your salesperson had to go out, or maybe your construction, right, like, Hey, I gotta go out and look at the house and look at the backyard and figure out what I'm going to do. geo fencing alert pretty much says, this is your zone. If you go out your zone, I'm gonna know and I might even question your Why are you out your zone. And again, it just more reconnaissance, more surveillance on where you are, what you're doing and what your employer what your boss is going to ask you. Why you were doing it? And, again, I don't think a good employee should be worried about these too much. But I do want to bring awareness on. These are some of the things employers are doing now. And some are now investing more simply because of the pandemic and the fact that more people are not in an office where they can watch you what a closer eye. Now since I've highlighted a few, I do want to talk about, you know, how did these surveillance companies come in, right? A lot of these surveillance companies, they take a CRM tool that the company is currently using something like a phone system, like LAN edge email system, like G Suite or office 365. And they aggregate all those data points in a real time proprietary dashboard that provides them with a weighted score, where they record and transcribe all your phone calls. Well, pretty much everything I say transcribed. So they have caution of where they can use AI. How they can leverage real time data and memory. They're pitching it to the employer like the software solutions are going to employers and are like, what did you want to know how to increase productivity by 25%? Well, with our tool watching surveillance, we can identify high performing employees versus non performing employees. So let's shift our perspective. Before we wrap up today's episode. Now, we've been talking about the employer benefit and how it affects the employee. But one registered nurse in Arizona shout out, she actually shared her experience about her health care provider or the company's health care company she worked out and pretty much it was highlighting, but they implemented this software however, how they were being tracked, change over A year. So went from, I think the amount of time she was working versus the amount of cases she was working on. And long story short, this registered nurse yet she said she hated it. She actually quit working at this one hospital simply because she felt micromanage to the point where they want to know how much time she was spending on her phone, how many bathroom breaks, she was taking, you know, what you doing when she was doing it? And even though there was a lot of data about it, she was arguing she was like it wasn't even effective data, because the way they were tracking her performance wasn't necessarily fair, and actually tied into maybe some of the evils behind businesses where it's like, yeah, more cases mean more insurance bills myth means more payouts with means more money to the hospital. And in reality, her job like she's helping hundreds of people, from doctors, patients and so on. So it was almost like the first time at least I found a story with somebody I was like, yeah, Managing software's, they can work, but they're implemented incorrectly, they can become a problem. Now, we all know that manager who hates remote work and every sense of pandemic hit, they are probably struggling the most, because their employees being remote hundred percent of the time bothers them. They really want people in the office. And I want people to at least listen to this episode and take away with, look, I'm not trying to fear monger or scare you, because companies are already doing this. And you're probably seen some telltale signs of this at your current job. I would, I'm trying to highlight what's probably coming in the future. And some of these people who don't like remote work, they want to look like a very tactical leader. They want to be able to say, because of my leadership, because my impact because of my presence, I'm able to bring change, I'm able to bring a difference. I'm able to do things Through this company that other people can't do. And, look, I've talked to a lot of startups. I've talked to a lot of CEOs. I've talked to a lot of people who are trying to manage huge teams. And then switching to being 100% remote has been a challenge. And even though they might not want to go as far as micromanaging and taking screen shots and screen recordings and live feed of your workstation, people are trying to find ways to be more productive. I think the funniest thing during this entire pandemic, are the managers who can no longer dis micromanage you and I had never really had maybe my very first manager was like that, but I never really had that experience. But I know some of you had and I know somebody who is listening probably experienced that right now. And the reality is like it's probably not going to go away anytime soon. So if you're watching Netflix if you aren't playing video Your games while you're working, I mean, you won't be going to employ. I mean, you want to be a high performing employee. So, you know, this make sure you're doing your role and doing your part. But yeah, these controls are coming and these startups that are trying to implement them, they are working and they're moving fast. So maybe, I mean, I just wanted you guys to be aware, because when I first found out that employers are spying on you, I was like, holy crap, like, This is crazy. Now, listeners, you guys know, I'm an academic nerd. And for me, you're gonna hear these companies talk about the productivity, the sales and the huge increase in numbers because they're trying to pitch a solution, right? They're trying to sell a product. But for me, I'm looking at like the academic literature I want to look at what are the numbers are quantitative numbers that show surveillance type software is effective and At least what I could find during my research. There's actually a lot of studies showing implementations of AI software like terramin and inner guard and all the other spying on employee software, they introduce a psychological barrier, they actually hurt productivity because employees feel like they're walking on eggshells. Now we all know that manager who want the software because they feel like they put them in more control. But when I was actually researching this topic, the one company that really stood out to me was get lab Now listen to you know I'm a bookworm. And you know, when it comes to this kind of stuff, I want to know like the actual data I want to know the hard facts. Of course he started Of course company like Tara mine, enter guard are going to employer and are going to tell them all the great stuff. Hey, we're going to increase sales. Hey, productivity and number numerous go out the roof. But based off the research I found, what I actually learned was implementing this availing site software in today's society, in today's world has actually hurt productivity. It's created a psychological barrier, that employees really feel like they're walking on eggshells, knowing that they're being watched every second, it's like Big Brother. And that really bothered a lot of employees. And it also kind of hurt innovation and creativity because you're afraid of breaking the rules. You're afraid of going outside that line simpler, simpler, and how is that about geo fencing? Who knows what your job is? If your job is to go out and find properties that look like a good investment, but you go outside of your border, then you're almost like contained in the actual box, right? So when I started looking at the research behind it, academic research Right now has shown that surveillance software is not necessarily the solution. The solution a lot of modern companies, a lot of companies are used to being remote. They say instead of watching the employee, it's a teeny bit of environment and a culture that fosters innovation of fosters that creativity. And that really values productivity, and there has to be tangible ways for employee to show they are being productive. Now, one company I want to highlight, Dan Murphy, who's the head remote, forget lab, a company that operated more than 1200 people 100%. working from home work, folks, that's an exception. And for a lot of managers, this is a very jarring moment. I mean for them, where they have this kind of question of everything I've done so far had been in person and now I have to be a remote manager. Well, the mentality I get lab is to not focus on surveillance software, but instead focusing on documenting metrics, objectives and fostering open communication, and really emphasizing results. And the key here, it don't just look at how often someone is sitting in front of their keyboard because we know, we know for a fact this being an office does not mean you're working hard and not mean you're a better worker. So according to get love culture, it's really important for morale to say hi, and for people to feel like they're connected as a team and not just another cog in a wheel for something much of you know, so much of it comes down to what did person x try to accomplish, or What did Caleb accomplish this quarter? You know, it's really about fostering again, an environment and giving people opportunities to say, Hey, I'm trying to be productive, and what are some areas that the company needs help in? Now, you really need to be able to have open communication to even have a conversation, there's so many places where, and I've heard horror stories. I've never worked at one of these places. But, you know, I actually think of I remember the first boss, I remember, she told me she's like, if you want to be a superstar, I need you to build like 10 websites and 10 apps. And I was like, you know how long it takes to build an app? And that's how she would measure me Was she was like, those are the kind of results I'm looking for. Where I found that I asked her well, what type of app she would, there was no, there was no communication, there's no collaboration. It was very focused on build something, show me something and then that's when I can say you did something. And give up really seems to srei from this type of mentality. And I think a lot of companies who can do this should now I will say larger organization to grab a much harder time doing this because a few things that come with larger organization is changing extremely hard. To truly adapt, like if your organization and just started doing agile development, you're probably already 10 years behind compared to like a startup. But by the time your company decides to switch over to the latest and greatest, it's gonna take another five to 10 years did to transfer over it just how it is when you have that many people within one organization, it's much more difficult to really instigate like a whole new mindset of how to work, how you are judged, how your how your performance judge, and those things take time. It is what it is. But I hope you enjoy today's episode, I want you to walk away from this episode, knowing that the surveillance software is coming. And one of the things you can do today is so having those communications with your manager with your boss, and if you're in a higher level position, sorry, questioning Do we need to rely software or do we need a more or open environment? Do we need more communication? What does more communication mean? Because some people think communication is creating another Slack channel. I mean, how how many people are on slack? How much? How much conversation is going on slack? How many meetings Are you guys having? Are you having too many meetings, I mean, the list goes on and on. But employers who are scared, who do not like you working from home, they are trying to find a way to make working from home a pain. And even though they might tell you, it's for your benefit for your productivity. The reality is they don't like you working from home. And they really prefer if you went back to how their things were, and going back into an office, and some people would like that, and there's nothing wrong with that. But there's employer surveillance is here to stay and it's probably gonna get more attention in the next year or two. There's definitely going to be some legal cases about privacy from wasp Private for the employee with privacy for the employer, and everything in between. So hope you enjoyed today's episode. Remember, if you want to see an entire list of all the ways employers are tracking you, make sure to check out the blog in the show notes below. Or go to peep one tech.io sign up for email a list. And guys, I am trying making it a personal goal to release more episodes in the next few weeks since I am on paternity leave, and I have my daughter with me right here right now. And this really want to make sure that we're staying consistent and that we are delivering value and great content for the listeners. So again, thank you for tuning in. I appreciate love all the support. Stay tuned for more episodes this week, but for now we are out. Thanks for joining us on the people in tech podcast for resources mentioned in this episode, visit us at people in tech.io and join our mailing list. For more content later