When your every keystroke, mouse click, and website visit is monitored by your boss…

Not the kind of company I would want to work for.

BBC News reports:

Shibu Philip admits he knows what it’s like to “maybe waste a bit of time at work”.

Shibu is the founder of Transcend – a small London-based firm that buys beauty products wholesale and re-sells them online.

For the last year and a half he has used Hubstaff software to track his workers’ hours, keystrokes, mouse movements and websites visited.

With seven employees based in India, he says the software ensures “there is some level of accountability” and helps plug the time difference.

“I know myself. [You can] take an extra 10-minute break here or there. It’s good to have an automatic way of monitoring what [my employees] are up to,” says Shibu.

“By looking at screenshots and how much time everyone is taking on certain tasks, I know if they’re following procedures.

“And, if they’re doing better than I expected, I also study the photos and ask them to share that knowledge with the rest of the team so we can all improve,” he says.

Shibu Philip has done a great service. Now everyone knows to steer well clear of working for him or his company Transcend.

I just feel sorry for the people who already work for him, and may not have the opportunity to move to employers who trust them to act professionally and respect their privacy.

Surely it’s better to judge people by whether the job gets done to a good standard rather than minute-by-minute recording of everything they do on their PC. Not to mention the risk that sensitive screenshots and surveillance data may not be transmitted and stored securely.

Of course, Shibu’s Transcend firm isn’t the only one which deploys spyware to snoop upon its employees, as we discussed in a past episode of the “Smashing Security” podcast with special guest Mikko Hyppönen.

Chances are that this is a technology that is being increasingly used by different companies to keep tabs on employees as more and more people are working at home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon’s Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy.

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