Snoopy Technology

You are on candid camera! No more messing around and getting away with it. Gone are the days when employees dared to pass on a company’s vital data to a competing firm. Bosses have proof of who has done it and when it was done.

This is the 21st century and “snooping at workplace” has become a fact of life, more so if you are using a computer.

It is no wonder that bosses have gotten smarter. Looking around us, we can see youngsters with changing loyalties and increasing need for extra money, whatever their earning may be or even need for power.

The current “technology aware” employers have various options in surveillance software that monitors everything – as if a camera is watching the computers employees are working on. This software is said to work perfectly and hidden without being identified, even by an anti-virus program.

A survey revealed that about three out of four US companies keep track of the sites their employees visit. More than half of them use surveillance software to check office email and even look for hot-button keywords like “sex.” More than a third of the companies monitor the time their employees spend on the computer and log every keystroke or log the downloads. The survey also revealed that one in four companies report firing an employee for improper email use.

What can such software actually do? The software can track and block various websites the employees visit and even log each and every keystroke, which means everything they are typing can be seen. Screen shots of what employees are doing are also captured and stored. There is software that even keeps a track of all the songs downloaded by employees to their iPod. There is in fact nothing that the software of today cannot do.

The use of this surveillance software is growing and activity that we think is innocent is getting caught. There have been instances of people innocently uploading files to their private emails, to be able to work from home, and having been caught for the same. This shows that you got to stay away from mails sent by friends, video clips sent by friends or even silly jokes. Remember! No gesture is innocent anymore. People lose jobs as bosses do not find these things amusing.

But then, can companies or bosses be blamed for things to have come to such a pass? Employers say they have valid reasons to monitor their employees’ computer use. The first one being productivity. Another survey found that employees waste a lot of time at work, and most of it online, doing things that are not related to work. This costs the businesses about $759 billion annually.

Apart from this major reason, there are several others. Improper usage of computers may at times lead to legal issues. Pirated music or movie downloads onto a computer at work can lead to a copyright infringement suit. Looking at pornographic pictures or sending such emails can cause trouble. Businesses are right in wanting to stay away from such unnecessary trouble. A company named Chevron had to pay $2.2 million to its female employees after their male employees circulated email that is offensive.

Another reason is the security aspect. Websites of pornography, music and games usually come with viruses and other malicious ware that secretly downloads onto a computer and this allows access of company-related information to outsiders. This could prove expensive in terms of security.

Technology has improved and companies are using two types of spying software. One is programs that are network based and can monitor all the traffic that passes through a system. It searches all correspondence and blocks if it suspects that employees are compromising on sensitive data related to the company. It is so advanced that it is said to detect even the tone of the email, and can figure out when an employee is not happy with his job or boss. The other software sits on an employees computer.

Now that it is here, technology will undoubtedly continue to creep into the workplace, whether we as employees like it or not. So, the next time you send a naughty email, flirt with someone on the net, search for a new job or abuse your boss online, just keep in mind that it is far safer to do it on your personal computer that you have at home.

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1 comment
  • It is understandable why companies utilize such software for monitoring. It’s even more incredible how so many “tech”related employees know little about the new world of media and its consequences. Business owners/developers and employees of larger corporations would benefit from learning more about the latest media, and opprotunities , especially the consequences.I actually work with Microsoft, and right now I’m really excited to spread the word about the “Vision to Venture” tour they’re having between April and May, which will consist of five live events. Featured speaker, John Jantsch is a marketing and digital technology coach, award-winning social media publisher, and author of Duct Tape Marketing: The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide, as well as many other speakers offering industry tips. The tour is fully geared towards women entrepreneurs and savvy web gals.You can see more and register at so let me know what you think! And if you have any questions, I’d be more than happy to answer them !