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Is it OK to spy on employees?

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posted on May, 4 2011 @ 01:04 PM
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My business partner just came to me with a proposal to put spyware on the server to record keystrokes, screen frames every minute or two, internet sites browsed, and emails sent in and out for all our employees that use computers. We have not had any real issue with abuse to this nature before and I feel his intentions are more for the security of our company, then to catch our employees doing anything bad. I have a great relationship with all my workers considering most if not all of them friends. My feelings are if I didn't trust them, I wouldn't have hired them. Though I did not take part in the hiring of every worker here.
I have to say though, this has put me in a moral/ethical situation. Years ago I worked for a firm in which they did record screen shots and during lunch I was playing solitaire. I was called in and received a warning for such behavior even though I was on lunch - it really pissed me off! In turn this became the beginning of the end for my stay at that place, for I never really trusted them again and slowly started to resent the HR department along with all the upper management staff for letting it get that far.
We do have cameras placed everywhere already, including ones with remote controls for zooming in and out and movement, but this new security system seems different to me.
Figured I'd throw this out to the community to see what everyone else's opinion is.
Thanx. . .




posted on May, 4 2011 @ 01:08 PM
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I think it would ruin the morale of your workers and if you are not having problems then why the need.

If you are having problems then you should just block websites like facebook etc...



posted on May, 4 2011 @ 01:10 PM
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Of course it is. Plenty of case law on this, already decided.



posted on May, 4 2011 @ 01:11 PM
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Only when they are in the bathroom and female....lol....



posted on May, 4 2011 @ 01:14 PM
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reply to post by AnteBellum
 


This is already in place where I work ( Manchester , UK . For the record ) . I'm pretty sure the the Freedom of Information act is being broken .

Regards



posted on May, 4 2011 @ 01:15 PM
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Those computers do not belong to employees, the computer equipment is the property of the employer and what the employer chooses to do with their equipment is their business.



posted on May, 4 2011 @ 01:18 PM
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apparently it is okay, i work in a law firm, and although i couldn't care less, i am surely, as we speak, being monitored as to where i go on the internet... thankfully if the issue arises that i visit ATS, my boss is a huge conspiracy theorist, so i am surely to be forgiven for this particular site...
but to a point i don't think it is okay. although we did have a legal assistant working for an attorney in one of our satellite offices steal money... the TBI confiscated her computer because one of the paralegals looked up her search history after she stole the money and plainly disappeared from our knowledge, anyways it apparently showed she had searched "how to steal from your boss and get away with it" and "how to remove your fingerprints"... like i said she disappeared and has not been caught and/or charged to date... and a couple months later, given the knowledge that we use at least 4 credit cards in our bosses name on a daily basis for filing documents with the court, another assistant took the information home with her and paid her cell phone bill with one of his credit cards... in this instance the employee was caught and fired, claiming her daughter did it (yeah right)...
so i'm kind of on the fence about that... but good question

and my biggest issue is with the so-called computer geeks who introduced this to my boss... making it sound all glamorous and blaming every computer issue on someone streaming music or video, it's not true and it's sad that someone will believe every word...
edit on 4-5-2011 by schitzoandro because: add



posted on May, 4 2011 @ 01:20 PM
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reply to post by lewman
 


This is my take on it also.
There are no restrictions on the internet in place as of now and as long as the work gets done in time I really don't care if they have Facebook open all day long. I never wanted a place that people dreaded to go to every day. Everyone here loves what they do and we all try to have some type of fun doing it, even in the face of chaos.

My partner feels different though and we tend to never agree on such topics. I think this is why we work so well together because we are both on the opposite sides of the fence trying to meet somewhere in the middle.



posted on May, 4 2011 @ 01:21 PM
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Is it okay for your employees to browse ATS on the clock?




posted on May, 4 2011 @ 01:21 PM
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Id' say it is OK as long as you let them know what changes will be taking place, you know, give them a heads up so they don't get caught on a NSFW site they visited intentionally. I gotta say though, it sure is nice to be judged based on production and merit as opposed to web use and how my employer perceives my use of time. I have free access to all websites and no one monitors anything (I'm the IT admin here), but you have experienced first hand the effects of your proposed policy. Seems to me that YOU are the best person to make the determination.

Has something happened recently to cause your partner concern? Is production not where it should be? If everything is fine, can I ask WHY? Is it a purely voyeuristic, totalitarian lust for peon blood that drives his decisions? I am of the opinion that if work is being completed in a timely manner, there is no point in causing your employees any grief. Happy workers are productive workers.



posted on May, 4 2011 @ 01:26 PM
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reply to post by Skewed
 


Except when the guy is sending his wife a message to her in what he believes is a private message between the intended recipient of the addressee. Now when the comapny goes and sees this message to the guys wife I have a huge issue with this.

If you give them the internet then why spy unless your in intel then they would not have access.

My company flags porn and porn releated searches and restrict access to questionable content.

Do you really want to piss off your best employees.

If you want to remeber you have to tell them legally that your monitoring the activity.



posted on May, 4 2011 @ 01:40 PM
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reply to post by Rocky Black
 


Well, from the business perspective, you are there to work and not to talk to your wife, and if you are dumb enough to send a private message from your work computer, then shame on you if you get caught. That is why you have breaks and your own cell phone to talk to the wife.

However, I think for the sake of every ones best interest, the company should make it very clear that the business reserves the right to monitor any and all communication when using their equipment.



posted on May, 4 2011 @ 01:43 PM
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As a UNION Rep. I lobbied against," The employee monitoring Bill " in D.C back in the 80's , companies have had the right for decades! It's a dead issue , sheeple !



posted on May, 4 2011 @ 01:44 PM
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reply to post by Signals
 


Define on the clock. When you take a break yes. Define when it is break.

I work an agressive schedule and half the time do not take a break and a very short lunch. Most peeps go out for 4 smoke breaks a day including lunch. Most even more than that.

I never take a break so hell ya it is ok to read some news.



posted on May, 4 2011 @ 01:44 PM
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In Canada at least, if your employees have been fully informed of the fact that their electronic activities are being monitored AND it's spelled out what can and can't be done (ie, you can't do personal work on a business computer), then it's perfectly legal here.

Where I work, they have this policy but they are also nice enough to provide "non-monitored" non-work computers so you can do your banking etc on your lunch/coffee breaks.

And I can't imagine why the law would be different anywhere else.



posted on May, 4 2011 @ 01:47 PM
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reply to post by Skewed
 


100% of companies due this it is in the pact of papers they sign if they are given a pc to use. They can never proscute though as any search of the e-mail database would reveal the abuse happens at the top level with the ceo sending messages to her husband. And the IT send a friend some porn that got stopped at the server. happen every day my friends.



posted on May, 4 2011 @ 01:51 PM
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Originally posted by OLD HIPPY DUDE
As a UNION Rep. I lobbied against," The employee monitoring Bill " in D.C back in the 80's , companies have had the right for decades! It's a dead issue , sheeple !


I wasn't trying to discuss the legality of such a system being implemented. Yes, that is a dead issue.
My discussion is based on the moral/ethical stance an employer, such as myself, would have in letting such a system be put in place to begin with.

In answer to others that have posted, I believe disclosure is absolutely necessary before this goes into effect.
I am meeting with my partner later tonight, which means tomorrow morning maybe. I will post our decisions and reasons for it once this happens.
Thanks for all the input and situations brought forth, if anyone else has more to add please do!



posted on May, 4 2011 @ 01:55 PM
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reply to post by Rocky Black
 


I understand exactly how it works. I am a sys admin and this is the thing I hate the most about my job when the boss comes and starts asking for log files for users. I do not necessarily care for it myself, but I see it from both sides and at the end of the day it is the company that has to protect themselves.



posted on May, 4 2011 @ 01:56 PM
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reply to post by AnteBellum
 


How big is your company?

Is it 10-20 people who are going to be effected or 100-200?
I think for a smaller business less restrictions are needed but the larger ones need more organized security in place to handle the load.



posted on May, 4 2011 @ 01:58 PM
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They're your resources and cost you money, and there's nothing wrong with monitoring, as long as it's done with some sense of reason and maybe even some guidelines (that you set and you can live with) in place. I've seen employers both jump to conclusions based on logging data and use it at-will as an excuse to fire people. Sometimes I think there can be abuse or misinterpretation, but as someone already said, lots of case law already decided.

In addition, any employee who doesn't already expect this to be happening is pretty naive. Some people think it would be fair to cover the fact that this happens in the employee orientation or handbook. I think this was a point in some of the case law as well, if I remember correctly, but didn't "stick."




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