A conspiracy that no less than Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg tried to swat down himself when he was grilled by Congress earlier this year. The study looked at 17, Android apps and specifically paid attention to the media files being sent from them. But they did find that some apps were sending screen recordings and screenshots to third parties.
Apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Viber
Gizmodo drills down and pulls out examples like that of junk food delivery app GoPuff, which the site describes as monitoring user interactions with the app and sending them to a mobile analytics company called Appsee. In this Tuesday, Feb. Use online tools like Ghostery to see how much information the sites you regularly visit are tracking you across the internet.
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Is your smartphone spying on you? She has extensively reported from war zones including Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Burma, and Latin America investigates global conflicts, war crimes and terrorism around the world. These apps can be installed on workstations, but lots of them are available on mobile devices. This means an employer can just install spying software on each business cell phone before it is forwarded to workers, giving employers means to see every detail their workforce does while on a workstation, or while using their business devices.
In many countries laws permit proprietors to completely monitor their workers during work hours, and all the time while workers are at their workplace. On the other hand, installing spying apps on mobile devices is an extreme way to track your workforce with some apps offering very disturbing features that are worse than spying techniques seen in many dystopian movies and novels. In this piece we want to show just how employee monitoring can go overboard and instead of being a tool that should increase productivity and efficiency, while at the same time providing companies means to locate their employees but only during work hours , it can evolve into something completely extreme, a way to strip employees of their privacy, even during off hours.
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There are many features that endanger privacy and before looking at spying apps let us see which extreme tracking features are offered by classic employee monitoring software. Even worse, most employee monitoring software offers video recordings, and some even offer constant live video feeds of every workstation. Let us look at Teramind , one of the most popular employee monitoring software. There are other solutions offering similar, privacy endangering, features such as ActivTrak , or InterGuard, but Teramind is the most extreme example.
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The software will record videos in case some rule like visiting a forbidden site, or just typing a wrong keyword is breached. On top of videos, the app will also record audio both from sound inputs and outputs. Creepy and unnecessary, the live video feed feature is something that clearly goes over the edge.
But this is just the start, and you will see Teramind again in this article. If you plan to monitor your workforce, at least make it all transparent. Inform workers their workstations will have the software installed on them, and inform them which actions will be monitored. Instead of offering fully transparent installations, a good deal of employee monitoring solutions offer incognito installs.
In other words, they can be installed on a computer without the knowledge of the person using that computer and from then on the program will track and monitor all activity. While some companies mention this in their list of features, ActivTrak brags about it and mentions the possibility of invisible install on the second place on its features page, just under the fact that the solution is free. And, even worse, many solutions offer invisible installs, with Teramind being among them.
On top of being able to be installed even remotely via company servers invisibly, many employee monitoring solutions offer stealth monitoring feature, like ActivTrak and Teramind, which can be misused in certain scenarios.
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Just imagine you are sick and have to work from home. In order to get the work done, you need to connect to your company server in order to access your files and workstation data. And if your company uses an employee tracking and monitoring app that offers incognito installation, your PC might end up infected with tracking software, which behaves like a virus and works in the background. And then imagine it records what you do while you use your PC for personal interests.
This can be a catastrophic assault on your privacy, especially because many solutions offer keyloggers, keyword tracking, with a couple even coming with remote desktop control. Yup, in that imaginary situation you would end up being percent transparent to your employer.
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Okay, keyword tracking can be very important for some companies, especially those dealing with new technologies and solutions, and having a keyword tracker can save important company data that should stay in the company. But keyloggers, programs that record every single letter typed on a keyboard, are something else.
While many solutions such as Hubstaff , Interguard, and Work Examiner offer the same feature, Teramind offers the most powerful keystroke logger capable of recording every single keystroke, capable of searching through a base of potentially malicious keystrokes, capable of creating keystroke database, and much more. This also is a clear invasion of employee privacy and is just one step over the line.
Keyloggers, on the other hand, record everything and it can truly be dangerous. In combination with live video monitoring, IM monitoring yup, most solutions offer full monitoring of instant messaging apps , audio monitoring, and performance monitoring, keystroke loggers can create a highly toxic work environment filled with paranoia. While Skype or some other app may be used as the main messaging app between employees, spying on their conversations cannot be justified by the fact that the said app is used for company-related conversations.
As is the case with most other extreme ways of monitoring employees, most popular employee tracking solutions offer IM tracking. And almost every employee monitoring app does support one of the said features. But let us be concise and show some examples.
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