Tens of millions of Americans have transitioned from their corporate desks to living room sofas in the last month as “shelter in place” government health orders have forced many to work at home amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Corporate executives, who once had unlimited control over employees, have lost much of it, and that is why they’re now panic buying spy software to monitor employees who work from home, reported Bloomberg.
Axos Financial Inc. told employees who are working from home that they’re monitoring every keystroke, logging every website, and taking screenshots of their desktops, in a bid to keep tabs on how productive they’re. In an internal email to employees, the company wrote that “disciplinary action” or “termination” is possible if slacking was seen.
“We have seen individuals taking unfair advantage of flexible work arrangements,” Axos Financial CEO wrote in an internal email reviewed by Bloomberg. If daily tasks aren’t completed, workers “will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.”
It’s not just corporations that are ushering in digital surveillance tools to monitor employees, but also we’ve noted that governments are utilizing mass surveillance to monitor social distancing and the health care system.
“Of course, digital surveillance has been used for years on office desktops, yet it seems a violation of privacy to a lot of workers when they’re required to have software on their computers that tracks their every move in their own homes.
Employers justify going full Orwell by saying that monitoring curbs security breaches, which can be expensive and helps keep the wheels of commerce turning.
With so many people working remotely because of the coronavirus, surveillance software is flying off the virtual shelves.” – Bloomberg.
Brad Miller, CEO of surveillance-software maker InterGuard, said businesses are “scrambling” to purchase software that monitors the productivity of employees who are working from home.
Axos spokesman Gregory Frost released a statement to Bloomberg that said, “the enhanced monitoring of at-home employees we implemented will ensure that those members of our workforce who work from home will continue” to be productive during these challenging times.
Along with InterGuard, software makers include Time Doctor, Teramind, VeriClock, innerActiv, ActivTrak, and Hubstaf have developed monitoring tools for corporations.
Stacy Hawkins, a professor at Rutgers Law School, said some employers are going to far in their attempt to track workers.
Some workers who have been subjected to extreme surveillance while working at home have vented their frustration on forums such as CodeAhoy.
“I’ve heard from multiple people whose employers have asked them to stay logged into a video call all day while they work,” said Alison Green, founder of the workplace-advice website Ask a Manager. “In some cases, they’re told it’s so they can all talk throughout the day if questions come up, but in others, there’s no pretense that it’s for anything other than monitoring people to ensure they’re working.”
The virus has been the perfect cover for corporate America to rollout massive spy surveillance technology to monitor employees. Simultaneously, the government is ushering in the surveillance state.