Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror

Covert CCTV Monitoring in the Workplace? 109

Posted by Cliff
from the sign-o'-the-times dept.
An Inquiring Mind asks: "A good friend's employer has recently installed a CCTV system in the office she works at. This is not unusual in itself, but there is no notice that CCTV is in use, and no company policy regarding CCTV use in employee monitoring, data retention, or anything else. My understanding is that CCTV use in the UK is covered by the DPA (Data Protection Act) if: it is used to gather information about an individual; is monitored remotely; or is given to people other than law enforcement bodies (this from a CCTV/PDA document [pdf], from the website of the Information Commissioner's Office). If it does fall under the remit of the DPA, then they would need at least signage, and a policy for the retention of the data. Given that this camera would likely fall foul of the DPA, that challenging the employer would be career suicide (due to internal politics), and that she has nothing to hide -- what do other Slashdot readers think should be the next step for my friend: principled but suicidal stand, or quiet annoyance?" Much of what is allowed depends on the law of the land in your area. Depending on what the laws do and do not allow, how would you safely approach your employers to air your concerns on this subject?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Covert CCTV Monitoring in the Workplace?

Comments Filter:
  • by Eightyford (893696) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @05:56PM (#14879278) Homepage
    Depending on what the laws do and do not allow, how would you safely approach your employers to air your concerns on this subject?

    Safely approach? Fuck that. They are spying on you, so sue their asses. Or, better yet, get them a hooker and a hotel room. Just make sure to accidentally leave the webcam on. Payback is a bitch.
    • Re:Safely approach? (Score:4, Informative)

      by tomhudson (43916) < ... <nosduh.arabrab>> on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @06:49PM (#14879561) Journal

      Just so happens that I build/sell those systems, so I also know their weak points.

      You can buy laser pointers for a couple of bucks a piece. I have one handy that I use to tease my dogs with (they love chasing the dot), plus a cctv camera hanging around, so I just tested this to make sure.

      Shine the pointer into the camera. You can blind it from 50' away if you have a steady hand.

      • Your hand had better be very steady if you think you can blind a camera at 50'. You're generally going to be aiming target 1/3" by 1/3". Maybe you get lucky and it's a older camera and is 1/2" by 1/2" on the CCD.
        • Re:Safely approach? (Score:5, Informative)

          by tomhudson (43916) < ... <nosduh.arabrab>> on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @07:36PM (#14879809) Journal
          Its not that hard - you're aiming at the lens, not the ccd. The lens does the job of focusing it onto the ccd. Hit the lens pretty much anywhere and the results are bad. The further away, the better, since the "dot" gets bigger, so you need LESS steadiness, not more. But the best part is that its a lot easier to aim than you think - just "walk" the dot across the wall with your hand resting on a desk or other stable surface.

          The cameras typically have sensitivities well under 1 lux and their backlight/brightness compensation circuitry can't cope with a laser. Like I said, I tested it with a cctv cam I have hanging around for testing purposes when I build these things, so I know a few of their weaknesses.

          • The dot gets bigger, but so does the arc length. A change in aiming angle of 1 degree at 50 feet is a LOT more than the change at 10 feet. With my experience, a laser with a gaussian beam does not diverge a significant amount, even at 50 feet. You could pretty much guarantee that the percentage increase in arc length is MUCH larger than beam divergence.
            • Why not give it a try, like I did, before saying its that hard. 50' isn't a great distance, not when you're using a laser pointer as your "pointer". From a distance of 50 feet (I just paced it off to test it again) it only takes a couple of seconds to hit the camera lens while seated with my hands on a flat surface. From 15', its really quick and easy, even when "shooting from the hip".

              Use a clothes pin to hold the on-off switch in the on position, and set the pointer on one of those "bean-bags" you stick

              • I never said you couldn't do it, I just said your reasoning is wrong.
                • I should have also mentioned that the cheap pointers are best because the beams DO spread out quickly - they're not pin-point sharp. They have a bright center surrounded by a penumbra (cheap lens/no lens, scratches on the surface, etc., all help the beam to widen as it spreads).

                  This is another example where buying cheap is better, same as motherboards (stupid ASUS A7V8X-X dies 13 months after purchase - the cheap-ass pc-chips I'm typing this on has been running for 5 years without a hiccup, and its handl

                  • I've seen so many PC Chips mobos die it's not funny. Main reason? Bad capacitors that start leaking. Just threw one out last week.

                    Jaysyn

                    • by tomhudson (43916)

                      I guess they saved all those for the US market. In my experience, if its cheap, and it runs a week, it'll run forever. If its name-brand, it dies a few months after the warranty expires. That's why I left the stupid box sit for a year - I was so pissed off! Now there are cheapie versions out that will take the cpu and peripherals, and I can use another box for a specific task, so I don't mind replacing it so much.

                      The bad caps bit affected the whole industry, and not just motherboards. Like the power supp

                    • Don't think I'm knocking cheap electronics. I have a Syntax motherboard that I got for $35 & has been running 24x7 for about 2 years now with no problems. I just had a real bad experience with about 15-20 PC Chips motherboards...

                      Jaysyn
                    • Were they the ones that took the 450-766-mhz P3? They WERE the pits. 20% DOA.

                      Fortunately, they've cleaned up their act. They had no choice (and everyone in the industry later got hit by those "environment-friendly" water-based capacitors).

                    • btw has anyone ever tried fitting tantalum caps in a PC motherboard. from what i can gather they are a lot more reliable than electrolytics (and unfortunately a lot more expensive too....)
      • A guy I know used to tease his dog with a little laser thingie. Now the dog constantly looks around to see where that little dot might have hidden.. I don't think that shit is good for them. Maybe some dogs deal with it better than other though.. YMMV or something.
        • by tomhudson (43916) < ... <nosduh.arabrab>> on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @07:52PM (#14879878) Journal

          My dogs absolutely love it. There's something to be said about 400 pounds of dogs chasing a tiny dot, pushing each other out of the way. Especially when they try to "gnaw" it off the floor or stomp it with a paw.

          What spooks them is the radio-controlled truck one of my daughters gave me for christmas a few years ago. I haven't met a dog that isn't totally freaked by it. Its funny watching my St. Bernard trying to hide in a bathtub (its the only way to get her into the tub).

          Next step - "r/c trucks with frigging lasers strapped on them" :-)

          • I don't own a laser pointer myself, but a flashlight beam is just as effective. My cat will chase it all over the place. However, since she will get frustrated after a while, being unable to catch the light, I make it up to her by dragging a string around for her to chase, catch, and teach a lesson or two. Then after she has had enough, it's lap time while I do stuff online.

          • There's something to be said about 400 pounds of dogs chasing a tiny dot, pushing each other out of the way.

            Interesting. Have you ever tried to patent that?

            If you do, be sure to note prior art [freepatentsonline.com].

            Oh yeah, and I want a cut. :o)
      • or one could just drop one's pants, and say "eat my shorts"
      • Don't forget to make sure that the last thing on tape isn't your target practice..
        • Thats why you use a laser pointer - they can't see the beam until it hits the camera - and then the image flare pretty much makes it impossible to see the source.
      • Uh huh. And when they play back the tape that shows you starting to point something at the camera just before it goes blind, you explain that how, exactly?

        • Think for 2 seconds. If you've ever played with a laser pointer, you know how hard it is for anyone to track down who's doing the pointing. I bring one to the movies any time I go, just to mess around with the stupid ads they run before the movie.
          • Totally different situation.

            They just have to examine the few frames before the flare to see if anyone looks like they're pointing at the camera, ie, at the viewer. The biggest clue will be that they're looking at the camera, any easy thing for a human viewer to pick up on.

            Now, if you can carefully line up small mirrors or something ahead of time (long enough before that it's on a different recording), and you've worked out the angles, etc, etc, then just maybe you'll get away with it (unless perhaps if th
            • "Prosecution for criminal mischief or vandalism"?

              Criminal mischief? Vandalism? Gee, I can see it now. Boss complains to the police. They ask "What damage was done?" The answer - "Well, uh, none." "In that case its a civil matter. Good-bye."

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) <[ten.3dlrow] [ta] [ojom]> on Thursday March 09, 2006 @11:59AM (#14883604) Homepage
        One problem with using laser pointers to blind CCTV is that they are usually only one colour, typically red. So, by applying a red filter to the digital image later, you can get something that lacks colour but is still usable.

        There was a TV program about this a few years ago, IIRC on Channel 4. The guy never found a way to blind a camera properly. White lasers were not available cheaply then, I don't know about now.

        At work, I just stuck up a bit of paper with "NO SIGNAL" written on it. No one has complained so far.
        • A bright flashlight does the job as well, but you don't have the convenience of being able to do it from across the room. A strobe light would probably work by saturating the ccd and messing up with the auto-gaoi/white balance/backlight compensation circuitry. Unfortunately, I don't have a strobe light handy to test the theory.
    • by Lord Apathy (584315)

      To much work. Just do what we did when they installed these things in our break room for no reason. Just jerk the god damn thing off the wall. Find its blind spot, sneak in there, and break the god damn thing. We did that to 3 of the fuckers and they got the message.

      Of course this is highly illegal and if you get caught, you'll get fired and send to jail. In this case I don't know you and I didn't write this. I'll denigh it till my dieing day.

      • Less destructive but just as effective is the use of spray snow (might be hard to find outside of the holidays). Or if they are happy to come clean it off every 30 minutes, then use something a bit more aggressive such as spray adhesive.

        Plus you'll have a good idea of how aggressively you're being watched by how quickly they show up to fix it. If it goes for days before anyone notices, at least you'll know you're not being watched, just recorded. If they walk into the room 5 minutes later, then you know
    • Besides the spying part, I don't understand (its office policitics, I know) the reasoning for 'safely' approaching your employer. I don't think its fair to say that because someone disagrees with a policy and points it out nicely, they should be afraid of losing their job or having it noted on a file. We live in a world where the idiot who thought of installing the CCTV sans employee permission is -allowed- to keep their job.
      • Actually, in the environment where:

        the idiot who thought of installing the CCTV sans employee permission is -allowed- to keep their job.

        then the complainer about the policy is FAR more likely to

        be afraid of losing their job or having it noted on a file.

        Because the company has already proven that it doesn't look at workers as people- but only as resources to be managed.
      • You've obviously never worked for an English manager, I tell you man, those bastards are ruthless :-)
    • Surveillance is for the security of the workplace. I think we need more of it not less.
  • by phozz bare (720522) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @05:57PM (#14879283)
    It is said: Go not to the Slashdotters for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.

    (with apologies to Tolkien)
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @06:07PM (#14879350)
      > It is said: Go not to the Slashdotters for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.
      >
      >(with apologies to Tolkien)

      Ask not the Slashdotters for counsel, for they will say that in Soviet Russia, North Korea and Japan, you will only email old people both "yes" and "no". And that Natalie Portman, naked and petrified, in hot grits... may not be soggy, but she sure tastes good with ketchup.

      (with apologies to GNU/Tolkien)

      Oh, and CCTV? Don't worry about it. CCTV is dead. [netcraft.blogspot.com]

      I think that about covers all the base that are belo*WHAM WHAM WHAM*
      NO CARRIER

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Life is like frost. A complex pattern that has formed from simpler elements (atoms). There is no purpose to life, however, we have evolved to be happiest when we are satisfying our biological urges (by definition).

    ...what do other Slashdot readers think should be the next step for my friend...

    That depends on what is most likely to satisfy her biological urges. If she has a strong biological urge to take a "principled but suicidal stand" then that is what she should do but otherwise she should focus on sat

  • I work from home... (Score:4, Informative)

    by noopy (959768) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @06:03PM (#14879328)
    ... so if they have secret cameras, they, well... ... they keep paying me;-)
  • speak softly and carry a big stick

    - theodore roosevelt
  • What I would do (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @06:07PM (#14879349) Homepage Journal
    A series of anonymous e-mails, one a week, to the controlling manager. The first should be just a warning that the camera may be illegal. The second should contain the relevant portion of the law. The third should be a threat of potential legal action. The fourth should be the relevant portion of the law, cc'd to the authorities. The fifth should be the relevant portion of the law, cc'd to the supervisor of the authorities. The sixth should be the relevant portion of the law, cc'd to the appropriate Member of Parliment and the supervisor of the authorities. If six weeks go by without any action, then the anonymous and safe portion of being a whistle blower is at an end- and your friend should consult an attorney in defense of civil rights.

    Of course, it goes without saying that if at any point, a change in workplace behavior with respect to the use of CCTV cameras is noticed, you have to start the whole sequence over.
    • A series of anonymous e-mails, one a week, to the controlling manager.

      Anonymous emails might not be so anonymous. Lots of people I've worked with in the past have had... let's say, "unique attitudes" to spelling and grammar that I could identify them by even if there was no name attached. You might want to run emails like that through Babelfish twice.

  • by EvilMagnus (32878) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @06:09PM (#14879353)
    Just report it anonymously to the DPA. They do follow up on these things, you know. Even for things like keeping names and addresses in Excel spreadsheets, let alone cctv cameras.
    • by cmdrbuzz (681767) <cmdrbuzz@xerocube.com> on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @06:26PM (#14879448)
      Just report it anonymously to the DPA.
      Sound advice. Part of my job can involve collecting information for an investigation within the Bank, without the subject being aware that we are looking at what they are doing.

      However it is all detailed that the Bank *may* carry out Special Investigations should the need arise, in the employee handbook and with the DPA.
      If we run afoul of the DPA we are in BIG trouble and would expect an internal smackdown, not to mention the external repercussions.

      You have to ask, if the company are willing to break the law with regard to the DPA, what else are they doing?

  • by Anonymous Coward
    And right this moment I'm watching the first few minutes of Resident Evil.

    I hope workplace CCTV monitoring doesn't get used how it does there...
  • IANAL (Score:4, Informative)

    by HoosierPeschke (887362) <hoosierpeschke@comcast.net> on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @06:29PM (#14879464) Homepage
    In the US, it is illegal to have CCTV in the workplace without a posted notice. If you have a union you should bring it up with them. I recently went through a Labor Relations course where we when through various cases and I distinctly remembering a company being in trouble for having a CCTV system without notice.

    The Act is called the National Labor Relations Act, you should see if you have something similar. More info on different cases can be found here [nlrb.gov].
    • I love how half memories become incorrect blanket statements. There are some places in which the courts have ruled that putting cameras may be illegal. Breakrooms and Bathrooms in particular. But courts have also stated that you can place cameras in a bathroom if you have reasonable belief that illegal actions are occuring in them. Note that this is for video only recording. Audio recording falls under more stringent laws and on that you should consult a lawyer.
      • I'm not sure how you construed my post as a half memory because I didn't say anything that cameras are always legal so long as a notice is posted but I appreciate the clarification for others who may view. I wasn't considering private areas such as bathrooms. My statement was that in the US, if an employer utilizes a CCTV system in the workplace, they must post notices and inform the employees.

        I found that NLRB case here [nlrb.gov]. Look at the AnheuserBusch case.

        After a little more research, I discover this [brickhousesecurity.com]
  • Do them a favour (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Why not do them a favour and post your own signage and privacy policy? Post small signs around the office:

    "You may be under video surveilance while you work. No privacy policy is available."

    If they try to take the signs down, repost them. You wouldn't want your employer to get into trouble, after all.

    -Kell
    • That would cause more problems than it would solve, mainly from the point of view that management might not take very kindly to an employee not doing things by the book and "speaking up when something's wrong".

      It wouldn't solve the legal issue either; in accordance with the DPA, any CCTV scheme must have signs stating the name of the operator and a contact telephone number - anything less isn't enough.

      In this sort of situation, I'd approach my line manager in the first instance. If no action was taken withi

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @06:57PM (#14879600)
    Students' personal stuff was being stolen from their homeroom lab. They put in a couple of covert cameras and caught one of the janitors. They turned the video over to security and the janitor was sacked. The security chief (an ex police inspector) then suggested that maybe the class should have a lecture on the legality of what they had done. There was no hint that their taping was illegal. The lecture was mostly about the conditions they had to meet for the video to be accepted as evidence in a court of law.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @07:02PM (#14879623)
    Would your friend say that they're a generally "good" employer? Would she want to keep working there? There's always the risk that her name could be made public, despite her wishes, during any action.

    If you want advice, somewhere like the Citizen's Advice Bureau or her Trades Union (taking along any relevant contract of employment) would be a good starting point. Depending on what a workplace CCTV camera is actually doing and (most importantly) what the company has said that it is doing with the data the company may or may not be abiding by the data protection act or not. Even if they aren't now, a simple declaration may be all it takes to abide by the law (with the camera staying, which may not be what your friend wants). The ICO would be a useful organisation to contact but (from experience) not until you've definitely got a case.

    If you want someone who's likely to campaign on your behalf, try "Liberty" (http://www.liberty-human-rights.org.uk/ [liberty-hu...hts.org.uk]). People have certainly made interesting use of the 1998 act (see http://www.fnord.demon.co.uk/mt/fifth/cctv.html [demon.co.uk]).. .

    Another possibility, although a bit of a long shot, would be the Human Rights Act (http://www.opsi.gov.uk/ACTS/acts1998/19980042.htm [opsi.gov.uk]). It's pretty vague in places, and while it's unlikely that said cameras interfere with e.g. "... the right to respect for his private and family life ..." it might be worth reading.

    The usual caveats apply - I'm not a lawyer, but have been involved with the deployment in a camera system at a former employer in the past, and was involved with the discussions as to legal requirements (then under the 1984 act) re data retention policy and security, and later of the effects of the 1998 act (on non-camera data).
  • If you suspect that your company is doing something against the law, it is your duty to raise the issue with your boss. You can refer him to the section 12.1 ("Comply with legal requirements") of the ISO recommended information security practices (ISO/IEC 17799). But be sure that there is wrongdoing; as an example, in Canada you are free to put secret cameras in the workplace as long as you can demonstrate in court that you are protecting equipments and not watching specifically someone. It is much trickier
    • Re:Quiet annoyance (Score:4, Informative)

      by tomhudson (43916) < ... <nosduh.arabrab>> on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @07:45PM (#14879849) Journal

      he company must deal with storage and handling of the media (tape or DVD); if any incident occur they must go back in time, search for a while, then hope the picture is clear, and in most case it will have no value in court. It's a lot of annoyance for little ROI. But anyway I don't mind being on camera myself, as long as pictures of me spilling coffee in the fax server don't get on "America's Funniest Videos".

      Todays setups are much better. Motion and alarm triggers, a decent-sized (705x480) picture, 25 frames per second, with audio, viewable in real time and searchable over any network or the internet. Infrared cams that will pick you out in the dark when you can't see your hand in front of your face (they're fun to experiment with - they use infrared LEDs to light up stuff up to 30 feet away as bright as day). Easily searchable, and you can store up to a year if you don't mind setting up a JBOD. A couple of terrabyes of storage isn't that expensive any more, and mp4s don't take up nearly as much space as you'd think.

  • by solid_liq (720160) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @07:28PM (#14879759) Homepage Journal
    In 2000-2001 I worked for a company developing software for streaming digital surveillance video. While working there, I learned a little something about the laws regarding surveillance cameras. In the US, at least, it is legal to take pictures and/or video of civilians, so long as sound is not included, without the consent of the individuals being photographed/recorded on video. At that time, the British laws were even more invasive regarding privacy of individuals. I had the opportunity to see video from some of the cameras on the light poles on the streets of London, and was amazed to see that some of the cameras even had clear views into peoples' bedrooms. Whether the cameras are in the workplace, a store (which is still someone's workplace), or facing outside, the law does permit this kind of surveillance to take place. If there is a microphone attached to the camera, however, then the surveillance may be illegal.

    That said, no one likes cameras pointed at them at work. At one point while developing the software, I had several cameras pointed at me for testing purposes. Once the software was far enough along, a coworked informed that me he liked those cameras pointing at me because it allowed him to view the video feeds to see if I was at my desk before making the walk to the other side of the office to talk to me. Needless to say, I repositioned the cameras after he told me this to point towards my coworkers in my section of the office. Of course, my coworkers weren't too happy with me for doing this. My boss, however, did like it until I pointed one of the cameras at his office door.

    To make a long story short, no one likes a video camera pointed at them at work, but unfortunately the law does allow it.

    • Thanks for the clarification. I could have sworn up and down that as long as it is considered public, that (in the US) video surveillance was kosher. Any bathroom/lockerroom cams needed to have consent forms.

      The audio part was an interesting part. It now seems right, but wasnt blatant prior to your post (to me at least).
  • Why not give them something to actually watch?

    > The finger
    > Obscene T-shirt
    > The "moon"
    > Bring in your spouse and do "spousal" things

    Make them feel as if it's a good investment.

  • Well.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by rabbitfood (586031) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @07:46PM (#14879853)
    The quickest start would be to go to the information commissioner's website (http://www.esd.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/ [informatio...ner.gov.uk] and see if your employer is registered to process employee data. Chances are they might be. If they're not, then you've got them. Failing that, they should (though it is not a legal requirement) comply with the codes of practice (http://tinyurl.com/dlwqr [tinyurl.com] [www.ico.gov.uk]). The first paragraph of which points out that guidance on targeted surveillance of employees is 'forthcoming', so you might have to wait a bit if that's what you're worried about. If you're really impatient, you could report them to the Information Commissioner anyway. This is quite simple, and, providing you can prove (a) it is their intention to use captured images illicitly (b) pictures of you in an office constitute significant personal information and (c) that the cameras aren't be used for monitoring the 'security of the premises' or for 'public and employee safety', it would seem you've got a cast-iron case.
  • by thegrassyknowl (762218) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @08:03PM (#14879917)
    I work in a company that builds these things all day... there are cameras and microphones everywhere but there are also signs to that effect. Everything I do is recorded, and archived!

    I would just politely ask the person who authorised the cameras (the boss?) why they think they need them and what they hope to achieve. They will come up with some crap excuse (they always do) that is based on some uninformed thing they read in some boss magazine.

    Just push the issue politely until you demonstrate to them that spying on employees only demotivates them. If employees don't feel trusted then they won't be productive.

    They do it to "stop" employees doing personal things on company time. The problem is that company time is the only time that other companies are open! Also, doing a few personal things over the day is a welcome break and refreshing. I work better when I can just do what I want; I get a lot more, better lines of code written with the freedom than I do with the authoritarian "thou shalt not..." directives.

    Management here went through a phase of starting "thou shalt not.." and it was soon dropped when they realised that if they don't question what you are doing and only question the amount/quality of the end work they get better results.

    Anywho, just point out to management the negatives of covert spying on employees and they might see the point. It's more likely given that they think they are "elite" that they will just ignore the employees as being dumb!
  • Similar Situation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by GWBasic (900357) <slashdot@a[ ]ewr ... m ['ndr' in gap]> on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @08:23PM (#14879997) Homepage
    I was in a similar situation awhile ago where an employer was breaking a US tax law. (Specifically, they were requiring I, an independant contractor, behave like an employee, which is highly illegal.) I printed the IRS's summary of the law, which described the horrible consequences that they could face, and handed it to my manager. A few days later they started to obey the law.

    So, if there is a web site from your government agency that discusses the legality of such cameras in very simple terms, just have your friend print it out and leave it on a Manager's desk. She could also cover the camera with a printout of the law when no one is looking.

  • there's a good chance that there isn't anyone actually monitoring the cameras on a regular basis. that costs a lot of money.

    if someone reports a crime of some sort, management or a security company might review the tapes (or DVR) for that location and time to help identify the suspect. the rest of the time you could probably be doing all kinds of crazy stuff and no human eyes would see it.

    also i've seen office situations where there are several cameras around but only one or a few near the front door or e
  • Isnt it far better for the employer to have an employee decide not to cary out an illegal action (e.g. stealing from the workplace, vising inappropriate websites etc) becase they know they are being watched than for the employee to cary out the action and get caught on a secret camera?

    If you have the right cameras in the right place, you dont need to worry that the employee will somehow incapacitate the cameras or cary out actions when the camera is not pointing at them.
  • If my employee discovered that I was unknowingly violating the law, and thus placing the business at risk, but did not promptly inform me, I would fire that person on the spot.
  • by Hulleye (126367) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @02:32AM (#14881322) Homepage
    I am just curious about how common it is for employers to monitor their staff. Recently, I discovered some spyware installed on all the machines in my organisation that takes screenshots of the desktop at ten-minute intervals in addition to logging keystrokes. (Activity Monitor from www.softactivity.com)

    None of the employees were made aware of the fact that they would be monitored and this degree of intrusion has compromised personal information, passwords, bank accounts etc. This kind of websurfing has previously never been discouraged at our workplace.

    The software comes with an easy uninstaller so i went ahead and uninstalled it from all the computers in my department. (The IT dept. subsequently came to "check" the computers in our dept. and i discovered the software had once again been installed on the machines) But the only reason I discovered it in the first place is that I randomly check what processes are running on my machine. Most people simply would not know to check for random or strange processes and the few people I have told about this don't really seem too bothered or surprised by the fact that the company is doing this.

    This is an extremely underhanded way of keeping a check on your employees. Though I do not agree with this type of monitoring, it may have been acceptable had we been told from the very start that our computer usage would be monitored. Has anyone else had experience with their computers being monitored in this way?

     
    • Might keylogging/screen monitoring run afoul of surveilence laws? I mean the whole point is you're being watched without being known.

      I'd rather have a camera in the bathroom watching me than spyware on my PC recording everything I type. Including passwords and personal messages off of company time (lunch break, etc).
    • Not to be a dick, but you should EXPECT your boss to be an invasive dick. It really is in their best interest.

      Dont get me wrong, he (lets just assume its a he, but replace with a she if its a she) has no reason to sniff your bank accound login, data, or any other personal info. But when I was an admin, we knew where every employee was at all times. If an employee was on a site that was deemed "naughty" (yahoo games, msn games, porn (owner loved that shit), etc), I would walk over and tell them that surfi
  • If this is the UK (or elsewhere in the EU, which has broadly similar legislation).. Get your friend to serve their employer with a Data Protection Act request (no need to contact a lawyer), asking for all data pertaining to themselves and their movements recorded by the company. The person holding the data can charge a reasonable fee (no more than GBP 10, I seem to recall). This covers CCTV systems, computer records and paperwork. If nothing is forthcoming regarding the CCTV footage, report them to the
  • by JoeD (12073) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @11:14AM (#14883208) Homepage
    How about a simple "Hey, what's the deal with the camera?"
  • I'd suggest asking somebody who knows all about using CCTV in the workplace [ntk.net].

"If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library?" -- Lily Tomlin

Working...