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Growth of staff monitoring software stokes debate over rights and morals

The future of work renewal

Brian Cramer has built a growing business that helps financial services companies meet their legal obligations by tracking employee communications and activities. However, the demand for such tools is now expanding beyond these companies for a variety of reasons.

Smarsh, of whom he is CEO, focuses on the tightly regulated and scrutinized financial services sector. Use algorithms and machine learning to troll text and voice transcripts of employee calls, chats, and other electronic interactions to identify potential insider and illegal transactions.

However, many other employers, helped by the adoption of increasingly sophisticated technology and online work, are new forms of digital, whether to increase productivity or flag concerns about work practices. I’m experimenting with surveillance. It has sparked a debate about the rights of individuals to employment and privacy, and their physical and mental health.

“Our current focus is [regulatory] “Compliance,” emphasizes Cramer. “But it’s very easy to see the ability of leadership to protect their culture and apply it to the areas and topics of the company that want to make sure they have a truly attractive workplace.” It lists potential areas such as bullying, harassment, and signs of racism.

Many professional companies offer a wider range of “spyware”. Even widely used software, such as Microsoft’s Office 365, “Productivity toolsIs currently under new surveillance.

Surveillance techniques include keystroke recording, GPS tracking, the use of laptop cameras and microphones, checking the volume and content of emails sent, and scrutinizing the nature of the websites displayed. This growth in GPS monitoring is driven by limited protection and regulations.

Not all applications need to be ominous. Emma Raceler, a partner at law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, said: What we see from our clients is the desire to trust our employees, not the Big Brother. Responsible employers do not want to be considered oversighted. Not a good PR. “

In a recent poll conducted by her company on 375 large global employees, more than four-fifths plan to switch from monitoring staff work hours to measuring output. Was suggested. This represents a shift from monitoring physical presence for a period of time per day due to the simple “commuting, leaving” of the factory era.

However, the shift to focusing on productivity rather than working hours raises the question of how to measure productivity. One-third of respondents to the survey expected that oversight could trigger protests from employees.

another Research At the end of last year, consulting firm Skillcast’s 2,000 UK corporate decision makers YouGov already implemented online software for 12% of employers to track employees and monitor performance, and 8 more. % Suggested that they were planning to do so.

“We are really worried about the increase in surveillance software over the last 18 months,” said Andrew Pakes, research director at Prospect, a UK trade union. “We were already paying attention to employers increasingly using digital technology to control and control us, but we saw turbo boosters installed during the pandemic. Digital surveillance is now part of the mainstream.

“Data is a new frontier in workers’ rights. We see technologies that have the power to hire us, manage performance, discipline and drive us,” he says. “It’s increasingly being used to manage and train workers — it’s a large mission creep.”

He cites software for coders that allocate tasks and the required time based on whether they completed similar previous tasks within the allotted time. His colleagues found data from a motion tracking system aimed at ensuring the safety of staff used in discussions about how hard people are working.

The union also casts doubt on the science behind algorithms that claim to measure the emotional well-being of staff. Legally challenged Use of artificial intelligence in promotion procedures — can pose a risk of uncertain prejudice such as racism.

Regulators are paying attention. The Information Commissioner’s Office, which oversees data protection in the United Kingdom, states that there are some “ongoing cases involving the use of technology that may monitor employee behavior.”

Published in August consultation About data and employment practices. Take advantage of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) — itself Under review After Brexit — Employers need to respect privacy, clarify the objectives and benefits of surveillance, and make employees aware of their nature, scope and reasons.

One of the difficulties with Watchdog is that software designed and applied in countries with different employment and privacy rights, such as the United States and China, are used elsewhere. Internationally, the UNI Global Union Network, a trade union federation representing more than 20 million workers, “Panopticon” worker surveillance practices By Amazon around the world.

For Röhsler, the key to employers is to make discussions about the use of surveillance transparent, respect privacy and employment rights guidelines, and ensure that the use of tracking “does not exceed the scope required for business needs.” is.

“Labor law and individual rights will undoubtedly be important in this conversation,” Kramer added, adding that Smarsh aims to apply the technology in ways related to risk prevention. “Technology exists to do many things. Whether they are right or not depends on the leadership of the company.”

Growth of staff monitoring software stokes debate over rights and morals Source link Growth of staff monitoring software stokes debate over rights and morals

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