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Big Brother More Pervasive Than Ever, Laws Slow to Adopt Worker's Digital Rights

The Economist May 13th 2022 |Employee surveillance|”How a new age of surveillance is changing work” “Look out: your boss may be watching you”

Read The Economist for all the details.

Summary by 2244

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Surveillance is ever more common in the workplace with 70% of companies admitting to the use of “spying software.” Some of the new methods are being powered by “advanced software” and even “artificial intelligence (AI).” Using AI, companies are tracking work in the office or work from home keeping tabs on “Zoom-call rictus and twitchy keyboard strokes to the consistent note of irritation in your voice, in an attempt to assess your productivity and judge your state of mind.”

Some of the data is coming from common software applications like “Google Workspace, Microsoft Teams or Slack can tell managers what time you clock in or how many calls you join on their platforms.” Other data is derived from employee badges “fitted with motion sensors and microphones…”

So far the legal system is “scrambling to adjust.” More and more under state laws “employees subject to electronic monitoring must be told in advance.” Some states may attempt to ban “digital monitoring.” Interestingly “The European Union’s Digital General Protection Regulation establishes some basic rights for staff.” Clearly, most are likely to agree that “firms should not have access to employee’s private devices, provided they are not used for work.”

In contrast to simple work productivity monitoring, some of these monitoring tools will really improve the safety, effectiveness and compliance for certain roles. Examples include monitoring of investment bank traders and social media moderators. Future applications may generally improve business operations by gathering data on best practices.

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