Your boss is watching. We already know that cameras are everywhere, your Internet history can follow you for life and your boss has too much time on his/her hands. Here’s a look at how technology is only going to make things worse for the common cube dweller.
What if your computer monitor was rigged with cameras that tracked the movement of your eyes? Advanced Eye Interpretation technology is here now, and you better pray that your company can’t afford to buy it. Currently used as a tool to help optimize Web sites by helping the owner understanding what visitors are looking at, the sophisticated eye-movement tech can easily be adapted by corporations who wish to know what their employees are looking at all day.
Crazyegg.com recently announced that they are offering faux heatmaps and overlays of what people are clicking on within certain Web sites – for FREE. All site owners have to do is post a single line of code onto a page and they will receive statistics of what you are clicking on. What happens when your company employs this technology to force you to use their intranet site. Or worse yet, they set up similar technology on specific programs that you use on a daily basis. Looking away from your computer screen for long periods of time (such as hanging over Jen’s cube to flirt) will become a thing of the past.
Also, popular new tools like MyBlogLog.com can easily be used AGAINST the rank and file. What if an employer mandated that all employees create a profile…then they’d know what blogs you visited and when!
Who’s at Risk: People working for a small or mid-sized wealthy organization. Also, those who work with a single program on a daily basis.
You work your hardest to avoid spyware when you’re illegally downloading music and movies. But your boss might be doing the unthinkable: installing spyware. A unique identifier, such as a persistent cookie, can live on your hard disk and collect all of your computer activity information and send a log to a remote use. The bottom line is that your boss can be on the beach in Fiji and still receive a log with your name, IP address, user names and passwords you use on the Web, and other keystrokes.
Who’s at Risk: Anyone working for micro manager with too much time on their hands.
Unlike software programs that many Web crooks utilize to capture keystrokes, your company might rely on hardware keyloggers. These are small devices that are placed between the keyboard and the computer. Since they are so small, they can often go undetected for long periods of time (especially when they’re hidden in your paperclip tray!) Since they require physical access to your computer, this device could have been innocuously installed before you even arrived. With the power to capture thousands of strokes, you better think twice before you type out "Kill My Boss" and then slam on the backspace button.
You already know that your boss can easily request a call log to see whom your calling and when. But did you also know that he/she can also track you in real-time? All it takes is a simple connection with someone working at the cell phone company. And if you think your organization won’t get preferential treatment – think again.
Since your cell is constantly bouncing information to towers and satellites, (so that calls can be routed correctly, the time stays accurate, etc.) you are always in range to be located. Each tower records the strength of your signal and what side of the tower you are located. Put it all together and your whereabouts are easily obtainable. So forget about calling in sick on a Friday, heading out of town, and using your cell phone to check in.
Who’s at Risk: You might feel self-important with all of those gadgets they gave you at work, but they’re really an albatross keeping you at arm’s length.
STRIPES AND SWIPES
The company ID. They get you on your first day. You’re grinning ear-to-ear cause you finally think you found a decent job. Of course, we all know that two months from now you won’t recognize that good looking person on the ID – but you also need to realize that your ID not only gets you into the building, but if it has a magnetic stripe or a smart chip, it also gets them into your schedule. When you enter the building, leave for lunch, and pack it in for the day – your employer is right there with you. A simple printed log can be quickly scanned to see if you’re rolling in late, extending your lunch, or bolting early. And if this ID also gets you into the parking lot or a common break room, your leash is even shorter.
Who’s at Risk: The more times you need to use it – the closer you’re being monitored.
There is not a single federal law currently in place to protect employees from employers who use location awareness devices. While your individual state can offer a bit of relief – don’t hold your breath. The laws narrowly protect an invasion of your own home’s computer privacy, let alone an employer’s public space. Similarly, law enforcement agents have often tracked people and their vehicles with GPS or other devices and are not in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
A little reminder in case you’re not in the eighth grade. Fourth Amendment: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Let’s face it, you’re being tracked by your employer. Probably even as you read this at work. There’s a 99% chance you have an employee privacy agreement that you signed – the question is, did you read it? Ask for a copy of it. Maybe it’ll make them think twice about following you home tonight.
Remember: An employer must let you know what is being tracked!
I’m sure there are a million other ways for employers to get all up in your business! Leave your comments below and let the average worker know what to be looking out for!