Your Employer Is Watching You

by | Jul 26, 2019

Your employer has too much information about you, lessons to be learned from Facebook’s USD$5 billion settlement, and how Snap is different.

Think Facebook and Amazon have too much of your personal data? Think again.

The truth is, your employer has much more of your private data than your social media, banking, or e-commerce accounts. 

The majority of employees feel uncomfortable with their employers tracking their moves in the workplace, network, or devices. However, this is slowly evolving. A Gartner study has found that as employers become more transparent about monitoring their employees, employees are more willing to accept being watched. 

Regardless, there is still a significant power distance. Unfortunately,  employers have unlimited scope to install monitoring tools and tracking systems in their employee devices, and internet connection. There is yet to be federal regulation preventing workplace surveillance. 

There are three key ways employers monitor their employees. 

  1. Location tracking, via an employee ID badge or a company device.
  2. Communication tracking, by monitoring email, Slack messaging, and keystroke logging. 
  3. Health monitoring, such as sleeping patterns and fitness through wellness programs. 

Here are some steps employees can take to protect yourself from your employer’s surveillance systems:

  1. Assume you are always being watched. Anything you do on the company’s devices, Wi-Fi, email, messaging platform, etc. could be tracked. 
  2. Keep it professional. Keep your work and personal devices separate. Anything on the company Wi-Fi can be scanned.
  3. Understand what information you are giving to your employer. Carefully, read over documents and contracts, for example, the company’s privacy policy, union laws, and your employment contract.

Three takeaways from the USD$5 Billion FTC and Facebook settlement

Known as the largest fine imposed by the FTC, the settlement reached between the FTC and Facebook shine a light on three key takeaways from this settlement

  1. The impact of the settlement or fine amount itself. Keep in mind Facebook did have to agree to this amount, but is USD$5 billion significant enough for Facebook to make changes to their policies?
  2. The structural remedies made necessary in addition to the fine. For example, the company will need to create a committee that deals exclusively with privacy. 
  3. The definitions that appear at the beginning of the settlement order. Some of these may show the FTC’s approach to how they interpret current laws and regulations. For example, the settlement order defines and clarifies the meaning of ‘covered information’, or personally identifiable information (PII), which is understood differently across the world.

For more information on this settlement, click here to watch the IAPP video segment. 

Snap has risen above tech giants

Snap cares about your privacy way more than you can imagine. Their most used app, Snapchat, was originally designed for private conversations. It has unique features such as automatic content deletion, private posts, increased user privacy control and much more. “We’ve invested a lot in privacy, and we care a lot about the safety of our community,” CEO Evan Spiegel said in a quarterly earnings call. 

Several brand-safety conscious companies like Proctor & Gamble have boycotted Google and YouTube after inappropriate videos were posted openly and as a result, they are prioritizing brand-safety conscious companies. Currently, Snap is hoping to secure a venture with P&G, as their values on privacy and user safety are aligned. 

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