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Workplace Surveillance

Workplace Surveillance

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Published by hethamulburton
Paper written on workplace surveillance and whether such has been taken too far to border on voyeurism.
Paper written on workplace surveillance and whether such has been taken too far to border on voyeurism.

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: hethamulburton on Mar 09, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/27/2010

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[Type text]Infringement of Privacy through Workplace SurveillanceToday’s world is absolutely fraught with copious amounts of technology used in activitiesranging from entertainment and national security, to the obsessive monitoring of individuals inthe work place. On the rise since 9/11, surveillance has wrapped itself around every conceivableinteraction in the daily life of the average person. Where the prospect of looking out for threatshaveled many to accept surveillance as a part of life, there is a lesser known dark side to thematter—where the fears of everyday citizens are realized. The extent of surveillance has turnedfrom protection, to spying on the personal lives of employees, and most tragically—voyeurism by the employer. Through weak, largely outdated federal and state laws, many loopholes have been exploited by employers to better constrict and observe the activities of their employees.Lastly, even with the inception of a few countries updates to surveillance laws, much is left to doin order to secure the privacy that is expected within the context of basic human rights.In the current workplace there are many techniques being implemented to keep track of the various employees of companies across the globe. These companies range from the averageeveryday shop, up through schools, and finallyin the largest corporations. The managers of thesecompanies feel that their surveillance is to better secure their workplace for their employees.Though, a study conducted in the Security Director’s Report (SDR)document contradicts thisfeeling among the employees themselves. In a poll of 520, non- managerial employees, 64%saw the surveillance as a means to make sure employees are productive, with only 46% claimingit creates a safer environment, and 0% claimed theft prevention as a cause for the surveillance(10). Workplace surveillance really isn’t a bad thing by itself; obviously employers have theright to monitor their employees. A problem arises from the drastic increase in technology andthe sheer numbers utilizing the new tech:
 
[Type text]Companies monitor all or some employees in a myriad of ways: monitor and reviewweb site connections: 76%, store and review employee e-mail: 55%, conduct videosurveillance: 51%, and monitor computer time spent, matter/ content, or keystrokes:36%. The data presents a trend that has existed since 9/11 of an increase of surveillance in every aspect of society where more than half of companies nowemploy surveillance, versus the 33% in 2001 (SDR 7).In a recent study done by Allen et al. a stunning result came about when interviewing aseries of 86 various employees in the San Francisco Bay Area. When asked what aboutsurveillance is problematic 20% replied it was an invasion of privacy, 17% felt they had tomodify their behaviors to conform, 17% wanted more trust and freedom in the workplace, and23% disliked the surveillance altogether (185).In regards to increased surveillance, it seems employees are no ‘dummies’ when it comesto feeling skeptical of the employer’s motives. An overwhelming percentage of people took theincrease a means for more constricting control on their work production. On top of this, it wasshown that a number of people simply feel that the surveillance altogether is an invasion of  privacy—that their personal sense of security is now violated at the discretion of their employer.As shown throughout the world, workplace surveillance is a rather controversial topic, withconflicts erupting all over the world’s major business and corporation sectors. People just don’twant to be observed so thoroughly whilst doing their job. Most employees really aren’t lookingfor much but recognitionof their privacy—which existed prior to this technology. It only seemsreasonable to say that the workplace would be better off with less surveillance, more trust putinto the employees. This may even lead to a balance in the relationship between employer andworker.
 
[Type text]The greatest fear of an employee is that their boss should find out some of their personalinformation. Though, as the technology has increased for employers to essentially spy on their workers, a fine line has been crossed in reference to a separation between the workers’s personallife and work life. Because of the increased technology:An employee who sends their spouse a romantic e-mail while eating lunch at his or her desk can find that their love letter has been read by their boss. Or a note to a psychiatrist stored in an employee’s hard drive is disclosed. Internet monitoring can be extremely invasive. People today turn to the Internet as their primary source of information, including sensitive subjects they would be uncomfortablecommunicating about on their office telephone or e-mail. In part, this is because of the efficiency of internet research. People also turn to the Internet for information because they can do so anonymously. The result is that people turn to the Internet for information and help about the most sensitive subjects imaginable. Women who arevictims of domestic abuse turn to the Internet for information about shelters and other forms of help. People also turn to the Web for information and help with drug andalcohol problems, financial difficulties, marital problems, and medical issues.Monitoring Web access gives an employer a picture window into employees’ mostsensitive personal problems(National Workrights Institute 3).Essentially, anything an employer does at work is immediately traceable by their employer. This may seem a way to monitor an employee’s abuse of web privileges by viewingnon- work appropriate material like pornography, or illegally downloading music and what not.But, in all reality, the internet provider has the IP address of the computer and can track suchinformation, whilst still allowing for the privacy of the worker’s searches and privateinformation. Furthermore, “most employers make no effort to avoid monitoring personal

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