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Counting Your Key Strokes a Violation of Personal Liberties?

  1. kate12402 profile image59
    kate12402posted 5 years ago

    A lot of businesses, especially technology centered businesses, are now implementing software that counts their employees key strokes and monitoring their internet and computer use.  Is this a violation of your privacy, or are these businesses paying for your time and have every right to control and monitor your time this way?

    1. spartucusjones profile image89
      spartucusjonesposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      A company pays an employee based on how productive they are. So with in reasonable degrees I don't have a issue with companies monitoring how employees use their time.

      I say reasonable, because I do feel there should be limitations on what companies should be allow to monitor. For example I don't have an issue with monitoring computer and internet use, but I would be opposed to the company being able to read employees emails.

      1. kate12402 profile image59
        kate12402posted 5 years ago in reply to this

        I think I definitely find nothing wrong with a company monitoring internet use.  A lot of companies have a filter that prevent employees from accessing facebook, youtube, and other social networking or entertainment sites.  Even schools do it.

        But like InCourage said below, it kind of takes on that 1984/Brave New World vibe when your employer can click and button and see your screen without you ever knowing it.

        1. spartucusjones profile image89
          spartucusjonesposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          I agree. Any monitoring efforts should be transparent, and there should be reasonable limits.

    2. leroy64 profile image74
      leroy64posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Is the company providing the computer and access?  Does the employee work at home on his/her own computer or provide their own laptop at work?  There are a lot things to resolve in that minefield.  I wonder if there might be a negative effect on employee moral that outweighs the benefit of such monitoring.  What is the point of productive employees who keep leaving the company?

      1. kate12402 profile image59
        kate12402posted 5 years ago in reply to this

        I hadn't even thought of that!  It's a good thing to look at.  Maybe if you coupled the monitoring with say a system where an employee could turn of the filters and monitoring system for say twenty minutes total per day to do whatever they want?  Like a free pass?  I know there are studies that say that people are more productive when they take more breaks during the day.

        1. spartucusjones profile image89
          spartucusjonesposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          I feel whether or not it is the company's computer makes a huge different. The company should only be allowed to monitor if you are using their computer, or on their network.  Otherwise it would clearly be a violation of privacy.

          1. kate12402 profile image59
            kate12402posted 5 years ago in reply to this

            What about if you're using your own computer but it's on their network.  So you're on their internet and portions of the software you use belong to them?  I only ask cause that's my exact situation haha.  I mean I personally am not worried about my company monitoring me because I do trust the company I work for, but for argument's sake...

            1. leroy64 profile image74
              leroy64posted 5 years ago in reply to this

              You could ask them to clarify their policy on the issue.  It couldn't hurt.

            2. spartucusjones profile image89
              spartucusjonesposted 5 years ago in reply to this

              If it is the companies network, then technically it would be with in their rights to put certain monitoring procedures into place (such as the filters that you previously mentioned). I do feel good judgment and discernment should be used (and as mentioned an employer would have to consider how such efforts would effect employee morale). As previously mentioned any monitoring efforts should be transparent (as an employee you should clearly be aware of any monitoring measures that are taken) and there should be reasonable limits (for example, as mentioned I would have a huge issue with the company being able to read my emails).

              But this issue does make me glad that I work for myself. Any freelance work I do for others is on my own computer and on my own separate network.

            3. kate12402 profile image59
              kate12402posted 5 years ago in reply to this

              All good points. 

              And freelancing sounds so amazing, but from what I've heard it takes a lot of effort and personal motivation.  You have to have like a superman work ethic.

              1. spartucusjones profile image89
                spartucusjonesposted 5 years ago in reply to this

                Superman like work ethic? That could be why I have a tough time paying the bills! After all I should be working, instead of replying to this forum. But, oh well.

                1. kate12402 profile image59
                  kate12402posted 5 years ago in reply to this

                  Muahaha, yes I too have that problem.  It's social media syndrome lol.

        2. leroy64 profile image74
          leroy64posted 5 years ago in reply to this

          I worked at a company that took the attitude that some people will surf the net during work no matter what the company did.  They monitored the bandwidth and let us know when it was getting out of hand.  The implied agreement was to act professionally, get your work done, and you can use the equipment to surf.  It seemed to work well in a small company, about 25 people.  The huge companies, I am not sure how well that would work.  This is an interesting line of thought.

          1. kate12402 profile image59
            kate12402posted 5 years ago in reply to this

            That sounds pretty reasonable actually.  Plus putting trust in your employees not only raises moral and garners goodwill, but it also creates an environment of mutual trust and understanding.  I'm not sure about the ethics of other choices, but this sounds like the most reasonable solution.

  2. InCourage profile image59
    InCourageposted 5 years ago

    This is a question about Ethics and as such will really have no real consensus.  The company is paying you for your time, this is true.  People also have the tendency to "waste" time and thus take advantage of the employer.

    However, employers/companies tend to overstep bounds of common decency when they go to such links to monitor and control their workers.  It takes on an Orwellian kind of feeling. 

    I get the image of an office in the old U.S.S.R. (communist russia) where everyone was 'Free' and equal but not really. 

    Hire good workers and trust them.  Control is only an Illusion anyway.

    1. kate12402 profile image59
      kate12402posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Very true.  They just implemented a similar system at the company my friend works for, and I myself am not really sure where I stand on the issue, which is why I brought it to forum. 

      I agree that the line between protecting the company from being taken advantage of and protecting the employees privacy can be blurry.  And it definitely does have the Big Brother feel to know that at any time your employer can look at your computer screen and see what your doing without you even knowing it.

  3. Cagsil profile image61
    Cagsilposted 5 years ago

    It would only matter with regards to the employees time on the job. Otherwise, a business has no place in watching what a person does online.

    1. kate12402 profile image59
      kate12402posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      So you think it's totally reasonable as long as the company doesn't monitor after work or lunchtime activities?

      1. Cagsil profile image61
        Cagsilposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        Correct. If a business is going to monitor it's staff productivity by measuring keystrokes, then I don't see a problem with it, but it should only be done when the employee is actually at work working.

        Lunch breaks? Are lunch breaks. They shouldn't be using business computers for personal use.

        1. kate12402 profile image59
          kate12402posted 5 years ago in reply to this

          I suppose.  Although I know a lot of people at my own company who don't take real lunch breaks.  They eat their lunch while they work, and then take the half hour to check e-mails, make phone calls, watch youtube videos or the like.  I personally think it shouldn't matter what you do during your lunch break because that time is yours not the company's.

          1. Cagsil profile image61
            Cagsilposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            It is fine if employees want to do things on their own time, but they are not to use the business computers to do it. This is my point which you are missing.

            As far as though who work through their lunch break? Well, they are idiots. Why in the world give a business a free half hour of your time? It makes no sense.

            1. kate12402 profile image59
              kate12402posted 5 years ago in reply to this

              Not that they work through them, but that they take them to do other things than lunch.  they'll eat while they work, and take their break to get coffee, chat, e-mail, make phone calls etc. 

              And I understand you're point, I just disagree with it.  I don't think they should ban you from using your e-mail or looking at various websites so long as you return the computer to them in the same condition as when they gave it to you.

              1. Cagsil profile image61
                Cagsilposted 5 years ago in reply to this

                Irrelevant. As I said, not on business machines.
                I don't see why you would. Business has and reserves the right to dictate what happens on their equipment. You don't as an employee. You never will.
                If you were to leave the computer in the same condition as when they gave it to you, then you wouldn't not be able to use it to begin with, because everything you do online is going to change the original settings the business applied to the machines.

                Not to mention, business has specific settings which most likely wouldn't allow you to visit specific sites because those site download tracking cookies which the business doesn't want or need.

  4. Uninvited Writer profile image82
    Uninvited Writerposted 5 years ago

    At many offices it is a matter of bandwidth use and costs.

    1. kate12402 profile image59
      kate12402posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Someone mentioned earlier about how their company just alerted them when the bandwidth usage was getting out of control.

  5. SpanStar profile image60
    SpanStarposted 5 years ago

    Clearly a company, a business is going to do what it will take to become more profitable and if that means tracking keystrokes then I have no doubt the business will implement software or hardware capable of providing them with that sort of data.

    Let's take a second look at what the businesses trying to do. It might look a little different if we were the ones being a monitored. Years ago this very same situation was brought up because not only does the software or hardware
    monitors keystrokes it also monitors how long keys have not been
    pressed and because of that some employees were written up for having taken
    a long lunch or perhaps a long break which would eventually put them in
    a situation where if it happens again they will be terminated.

    I am in favor of a business trying to improve its operation but since the
    development of the computer I personally tend to see some businesses treating
    employees as if they should be as perfect as a computer. Are you capable
    of performing every day flawlessly?

    1. kate12402 profile image59
      kate12402posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Very true.  I know I certainly can't.  Thanks for you're opinion!

  6. SandyMcCollum profile image71
    SandyMcCollumposted 5 years ago

    I think if you're using their computers they have a right to monitor, but if you have to use your own computer, I wouldn't want anybody else in there but me. No logging keystrokes, my passwords are private. If the job requires me to have my own laptop then it's my personal computer.

    On the news last week they had a story about companies that are now asking for applicant's facebook passwords. It was bad enough when they just wanted the page link, but now they want to get inside it. I see NO reason for that. The idea is to see what kind of messages you send and receive because it can be telling as to what kind of person you are.

    Back to the topic; I'm on the fence, depending on who's computer is being used. And if it's the business' computers, lunch shouldn't be spent using it.

    1. kate12402 profile image59
      kate12402posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Facebook passwords?!  Are you serious?  Wow.  I mean I understand companies looking at your Facebook.  When you post something on Facebook, it's on there forever, and virtually anyone can see it, even with the privacy settings.  You should never post something on Facebook you wouldn't want people to see, obviously.  But I would never give an employer my password!  The messages I send on chat are just as private as a face-to-face conversation with that person would be.

    2. spartucusjones profile image89
      spartucusjonesposted 5 years ago in reply to this

      I heard about companies asking about Facebook passwords as well. The article I read also discussed the questionable legality of companies doing that (and apparently it is against Facebook policy to give out your password).

      As far as I'm concern asking for Facebook passwords are definitely crossing the line.

    3. kate12402 profile image59
      kate12402posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      What was the discussion around the legality?  I'm surprised they found enough people willing to give their passwords to fill their openings.

      1. spartucusjones profile image89
        spartucusjonesposted 5 years ago in reply to this

        I don't remember all the specifics, but it had something to do with whether they had the right to ask for the info. Also if someone did not get the job or was fired because of refusal to give their password, they might have the basis to pursue legal action.

        1. spartucusjones profile image89
          spartucusjonesposted 5 years ago in reply to this

          This is not the article I initially read (I believe the article I read concerned Canada), but it talks about the government trying to pass a password protection bill:
          http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-574317 … passwords/

        2. kate12402 profile image59
          kate12402posted 5 years ago in reply to this

          That article brings up the interesting point (that I hadn't even thought of) that information like race, sexual orientation, and relationships status - all of which could be used to discriminate against someone - are readily available on a Facebook account.

          1. spartucusjones profile image89
            spartucusjonesposted 5 years ago in reply to this

            I've since found another article which included a statement made from the Ontario Human Rights commission which made a similar statement concerning possible discrimination:
            http://www.yorku.ca/ddoorey/lawblog/?p=5026

            Of course up to this point there still hasn't been a legal precedent set in the courts, but companies who ask for the passwords could be potentially getting themselves into legal hot water.

            1. kate12402 profile image59
              kate12402posted 5 years ago in reply to this

              Yeah I think that definitely crosses the line.  And it opens the door for companies to discriminate people who say have a few photos with red solo cups, or who's friends aren't necessarily as discreet on Facebook as they should be.  Because when you gain access to someone's Facecbook, you can look at all of their friends Facebooks too.

  7. Marcy Goodfleisch profile image95
    Marcy Goodfleischposted 5 years ago

    I can't believe that is still being attempted by the anal Bean Counters in the world. Someone I worked with years ago tried to pull that one on our group of writers (we were all very experienced professionals who had been published for years).  We pointed out that various keyboarding habits and techniques produce different numbers of keystrokes. If someone goes 'click-click-click' to delete rather than highlighting a block of text, the numbers are different. If one person retypes a phrase that's often used and another one cuts and pastes it, the 'scores' are different.

    If it's data entry work that involves entering names, someone who has a large number of multi-syllable names from Germany or Mexico will have a different score than someone entering one syllable names from Asian countries. Etc. etc.

    Those 'measurements' are created by people who don't actually know what it's like to do the work.

    FYI - the anal person who tried to pull that one in our office was, by the way, the least productive person on the staff.

    1. kate12402 profile image59
      kate12402posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Of course it was!  You know it wouldn't bother me, but I have 1984 flashbacks, and you're absolutely right - it's absolutely NOT an indicator of productivity, it just scares people into thinking they might lose their jobs if they don't meet a certain quota.  So of course it was created by people who have never actually worked in data entry.

    2. kate12402 profile image59
      kate12402posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Thank you for your opinion, and for the anecdote smile

  8. Marcy Goodfleisch profile image95
    Marcy Goodfleischposted 5 years ago

    Regarding Internet usage - I've seen people who spend their entire day on Facebook or cruising the Web, and I can indeed see some merit in monitoring that unproductive activity if it is done during the hours you're paying them to do real work. I wouldn't cut off access completely (as some firms do), but I'd start by making certain they weren't Facebooking at the expense of work.

    1. kate12402 profile image59
      kate12402posted 5 years ago in reply to this

      Yes I agree.  My company actually has this program where they use a filter to block out entertainment, shopping, and social networking sites, but you can choose to lift the filter for I think three ten minute periods a day.  It's kind of nice actually.

 
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