Working from home surveillance vs an employee's privacy - balance needed, lecturer says

submitted by Dave…

Companies have the right to monitor employees to ensure productivity but they must also protect the employee's privacy, an Auckland University Business School lecturer says.

Last week US banking giant Wells Fargo sacked more than a dozen people for allegedly faking keyboard activity, pretending they were working at home when they were not.

The bank has not said how it picked up on the problem.

But a survey last year of 1000 US-based companies showed 96 percent of them were using some kind of monitoring to check up on employees working from home.

All of this raises questions around ethics and productivity.

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If they aren't doing any work, how is the manager (who is presumably making much more than the employee in question) completely unaware of this without IT monitoring services intervention?


You know the answer. They have no idea. And middle manglement can't have that, so they've gotten approval for IT install a way to micromanage and justify their position.

The employees are likely working just fine, and achieving or even exceeding metrics, but they're not devoting every second of the day to the job so they must be "slacking off".

Dave [OP]

I don't get how checking keyboard activity or number of emails sent is helpful from an employer perspective.

If these people aren't working... then why can't this be measured by, you know, their work not being done?

If you can't tell if their work is being done without a keylogger then maybe you don't need them?


It's not about the employee, it's about the supervisor being able to justify their position with remote employees. They can no longer micromanage by walking the aisles of cubicles or offices to see people working, so they have to justify their existence in some way in a WFH environment.


You don't need to do that in person either. Somebody is getting done what is expected of them or not.



This isn't about performance, it is about control.

Worse still, if the employee is still getting work done without said middle manager "adding value" then why keep the middle manager?

Even worse still, what if the employee is getting the same amount of work done in less time... Perhaps there are bigger problems, in management.


some employees who were working from home may even use AI to do their work rather than doing it themselves, she said.

She sounds like a moron who doesn't understand AI at all. This is essentially equivalent to complaining that an accountant is using spreadsheets to do thier work for them instead of working things out using a pencil and paper...


There are some pretty major data security issues regarding AI though, especially around finance.

Venator , edited

Is generative AI useful for finance? I thought it was only really useful for programming, creative works, and design in the real world at the moment(with a lot of manual clean up etc.). But yeah you still need to be careful what data you give it, basically need to treat it the same as asking a question on a public forum like stack overflow or similar.