© Steve Marcus One in two employees is monitored by their company
With the explosion of teleworking, the software that spies on employees is increasing. What is this software and how far can your business go?
In mid-December, the giant Google had to prove to the American federal government that it had not spied on its employees. Initially, the group wanted to monitor the activities and presentations made by a group of four of its employees. Their fault: to have wanted to set up a union. The case sparked controversy over the extent of the powers employers had to control the activities of their employees. The USA is not France, you say to yourself. But is this kind of practice really impossible with us? Well no. The phenomenon is even booming, with the rise of teleworking, and the confinement to their homes of several million employees which makes them escape the direct control of their hierarchy.
One in two employees is monitored
There have been online time clocks for years, but the methods have improved a lot in recent months. And, above all, the surveillance is of an unexpected magnitude: according to a study just published by the study platform for business software NetApp (survey of 1,418 French respondents), nearly one in two employees is monitored by tools within his company, but nearly half of teleworkers are too! This monitoring is carried out through very sophisticated tools, often through software “embedded” in the computers made available to employees, which make it possible to know “the activity time, the history of the browser, the movements. mouse, recording keystrokes, “says GetApp.More than one in five employees also undergoes surveillance of their working environment (in the case of teleworkers, this is often their personal accommodation) through a camera installed on their computer, a webcam. And one in eight teleworkers undergoes tracking of their telephone activity and their emails.
Of course, the majority (59%) of teleworkers disapprove of this kind of coping, especially if it has not been the subject of prior consent with the employer. The main reasons given are the perception of infantilization and a lack of confidence, increased stress, fear of intrusion into private life, and lack of freedom in personal organization. One in five supervised even feels “micromanaged”, that is to say, that he feels like an excess of control on the part of his managers.
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Some employees appreciate being tracked
But four out of ten employees believe that surveillance also has its advantages: in particular, it allows the employee to better ascertain the duration and volume of his work. The consequence of this is to make it easier for him to obtain overtime and to make his superiors aware of the need to better distribute tasks… Another advantage – and not the least – one in five employees believes that this monitoring allows identifying more easily “situations of harassment and discrimination”.
But if spyware sales are exploding, it is not to benefit the employee but indeed to better measure the quality of the work of the employees. A study conducted in the United States revealed last November that purchasing intentions for software to monitor employees remotely increased by … 50 between January and April 2020. Last June, the consulting firm ISG published a study that showed that sales of this software increased six-fold at the start of the first lockdown. An increase which is explained by Kevin Blackwell, the technical director of ISG, ” the most important that we have been able to observe”.It must be said that these programs can measure almost everything: the number of emails sent, the time of activity on the computer. Some may even verify, assures ISG, that ” videoconferencing software is indeed in the foreground during meetings, and not in the background, behind (the online game) Clash of Clan”.
For a long time, there has been “time tracking” software that allows a total score of the activity of employees. But the software most popular with buyers usually goes much further. Thus, Hubstaff uses the on-board camera to take a screenshot of the employee’s environment every 5 minutes. Everything is then sent to the manager. The software also tracks the GPS data of the phones to see if they are not being used to download images or prohibited programs. The CleverControl software, on the other hand, tracks down the ” lazy”: this “keylogger” records keystrokes, mouse clicks, conversations through the microphones of their computers, and even photos of users.MocoSpy provides access to emails, calls, and activities on employees’ social networks and finally, Interguard monitors abnormal behavior of employees (impressions or downloads in number, quantities of emails that are too low or too high, etc.).
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Everything is not allowed
However, not everything is allowed: the law restricts the use of a certain number of procedures, namely video surveillance, telephone and computer surveillance, Internet and electronic mail control, and consultation of documents. job. The National Commission for Information Technology and Freedom (CNIL) has notably judged too intrusive modes of surveillance, such as Keyloggers, “illegal”.It also specifies that video surveillance of employees is prohibited, except for those who handle money or valuables.
Before submitting his employees to one of these procedures, the employer must inform them and send a declaration to the National Commission for Informatics and Freedoms (CNIL).In all cases to the contrary, these procedures are prohibited: the company cannot use them to justify a sanction against an employee or his dismissal. Note nevertheless that, among the “monitored” identified by GetApp, 16% have never signed any agreement authorizing monitoring … But the palm of the tartufferie goes, hands down, to MocoSpy, which boasts of being able ” to install stealthily on employees’ phones “and to be” invisible on computers and phones “while specifying that the employee’s consent is required to install it!