Researching for a future episode: how do you feel about employee monitoring software? Why or why not?

Please boost for bigger sample size.

This is for a future Your Secure Life podcast episode. My local tech association has a talk coming up presented by a company that makes employee monitoring software.

I’d like to do an episode (and a talk) on why that’s bad.

I have my reasons. What are yours?

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- Installing any kind of spy software is a security risk; their backdoors are now my backdoors.
- My compliance with their metrics will not correlate with my actual productivity.
- Methods like using the webcam to verify I'm seated collect too much extraneous information.
- Feeling bound to a metrics compliance leash is bad for human psychology, making grumpy inefficient workers.
- I don't know it's only an ai watching me. Not for sure. And if you'd sneak into office cubicals under an invisibility cloak to count how many minutes your employees spend thinking instead of typing? That's perv level creepy.

That said, I'm willing to tolerate them to some extent, as part of initiatives to help tech workers cope with online distraction. But I never see them used that way.

@feonixrift @estoricru

My last job made freelancers clock in with a photo on some fly-by-night app which always rubbed me the wrong way (I was full time so I didn't have to).

I never knew they used webcams to make sure you're at your desk- also super creepy (and liable to catch the post-it on the wall with all your passwords, as you noted) Also probably bogs down your "productivity" machine I'd imagine.

Great podcast by the way!!!

@estoricru Flat no.

I've dropped from recruitment pipelines when the req was to piss in a jar. (Thompson-Reuters)

Not because I do drugs.

But because I don't piss in jars.

I also don't do surveillance software.

@estoricru I hate it, and it's becoming the norm in the US. Employers have so much control that it isn't possible for employees to reject surveillance.

@estoricru Meh, I'm against it and I monitor our networks. As long as people get their work done, I don't need to know what else they do online.

A company tried once to sell us monitoring software, so we could "check if our employees were googling anything of a sexual nature." Part of our organization is a global fund guided by and for sex workers.. safe to say their software was not purchased. 😅

@estoricru Step one at every job I've had in the 21st century involved wiping the corporate Windows image and setting up Debian, so thus far I've only needed to shrug.

@estoricru Nice! I'll check out your podcast if you check out mine.

I have mixed feelings about employee monitoring software.

It could be useful if there is a regulatory need to ensure employees perform their jobs to a specific standard. However, management of such software is often slipshod and generally is rife with abuse.

If you want to keep good employees, they need positive reinforcement in order to keep them on task.

If you target good people with negative reinforcement, they will act poorly.

@estoricru don't hire people you don't trust. Don't spy on people you do trust.

Computers end up crossing the work/home domain becuase opsec is hard. Spying on employees means gathering sensitive private information as a result.

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