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Monitoring your employees: No easy answers

Business Technology | July 10, 2014

Your company supplied you a laptop you can use at home. Say you use it to watch movies on Netflix. Should your company be able to track which movies you saw? Perhaps you do much of your work on a company-provided iPad. Should your company be allowed to track the Facebook posts you make on it in your off-hours?

Privacy matters

Thomas Claburn, editor-at-large for InformationWeek, isn’t so sure. As he writes in a recent online feature story, employees of any organization – whether a public university or a private company – shouldn’t expect privacy today. And they really shouldn’t expect this if they work with computers or use e-mail accounts furnished by their employers.

Different levels

That’s because today’s technology allows employers to monitor anything from where their employees are during the day – thanks to smart phones and GPS – to what Web sites they’re visiting to what e-mail messages they’re sending. Employers implement this for a large number of reasons; they don’t want their employees to humiliate them on social media sites. They would like to make sure that their employees aren’t visiting TMZ during working hours. The question is: Does this monitoring pay off for companies?

Mixed opinions

A source quoted by Claburn, though, sums up the down-side of this lack of privacy. The source claims that when employers trust employees, they’re rewarded with worker behavior that is worthy of such trust. Sadly, in today’s tech age, trust by both employers and employees looks like it’s declining.


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