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Company Bashed For Using ‘Surveillance’ Software on Workers: ‘Dystopian’ & More News

 

Online commenters have bashed a company for purportedly using a “surveillance” tool to track worker productivity.

An employee with the company, u/Hour-Ad8095, posted about the tool in Reddit’s “Mildly Infuriating” forum, writing: “Micromanagement in our company. A tool takes a screenshot of our system every 10 minutes and counts our mouse and keyboard clicks.” ... has garnered over 33,000 upvotes and nearly 2,000 comments. You can view the full post here.

Employee Monitoring

Since the pandemic, many American workers have expressed a desire to work from home.

“People don’t want a full, nine-to-five day of meetings,” Brian Elliot, executive leader of the Future Forum, told Fortune. “They want the flexibility to turn off notifications when it’s right for them. Maybe for caregivers, it’s the flexibility to log off from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., and then come back and do some heads-down work after the kids are in bed.”

Close up of man typing on keyboard
Online commenters have bashed a company for purportedly using a “surveillance” tool to track worker productivity.
Chainarong Prasertthai/istock

Many employers, meanwhile, want to return to the office, but their employees are “putting up a fight,” said Fortune. To prevent mass walkouts but still “maintain a sense of control,” some companies have allowed their employees to work from home but have installed “tattleware” on company-issued computers to track employees’ productivity.

Different types of “tattleware” can take pictures of workers’ screens, log emails, take video recordings and track keystrokes, TODAY reported.

Though this type of surveillance is legal—Fortune said “eight out of the 10 largest private employers in the U.S.” track productivity—some think it’s “wrong” and ineffective.

“There’s a growing debate about employee surveillance, and we have a really strong stance—we just think that’s wrong,” Microsoft vice president Jared Spataro told Bloomberg. “We don’t think that employers should be surveilling and taking note of the activity of keystrokes and mouse clicks and those types of things because, in so many ways, we feel like that’s measuring heat rather than outcome.”

‘Mildly Infuriating’

In the comments section of her post, u/Hour-Ad8095 said the “tattleware” her company uses “records [each employee’s] working time” by tracking mouse and keyboard clicks. Though she doesn’t mind the surveillance, she doesn’t think it’s 100 percent effective.

“I am a software developer,” she said. “Honestly, screenshots are okay, but I don’t think more mouse and keyboard clicks will help [with] writing good quality codes.”

u/Hour-Ad8095 attached a photo to her post showing multiple, time-stamped screenshots of her computer screen that contain the number of keystrokes and mouse clicks she made in the ten minutes leading up to the screenshot.

Redditors React

Redditors called the software “dystopian” and bashed u/Hour-Ad8095’s company for using it.

“Disgusting,” u/Level-Search-255 said.

“I can’t fathom how this is legal in any country that’s not a dictatorship,” u/xTrollhunter wrote.

“I would immediately quit on principle. This s**t is unacceptable and should not be allowed to continue,” u/Exciting-Delivery-96 commented.

u/Random_hero_1192 added: “That’s dystopian.”

Newsweek has reached out to u/Hour-Ad8095 for comment.

More Viral Posts

On Monday, Redditors slammed a boss who once told an employee via email to stop being sad at work.

Last week, commenters bashed an employer that purportedly hid a labor law poster after employees started asking questions.

And a worker went viral earlier this month after sharing that they got fired for refusing to work Sundays.

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