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Bosses turn to “tattleware” to keep tabs on employees working at home

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Bosses turn to “tattleware” to keep tabs on employees working at home

The pandemic prompted a surge in the use of workplace surveillance programs – and they’re not going away any time soon

The Guardian,

5 min read
3 take-aways
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What's inside?

If your remote bosses count your keystrokes and read your email, they’re using “tattleware.”

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If you work remotely, you may not understand the range of software your employer can deploy to monitor you. Writing in The Guardian, Sandy Milne warns that technologies surveilling remote workers may soon do the same to those in the office. Surveillance applications can log your keystrokes, take screenshots, see you via webcams, and capture your messages, mail and phone calls. Milne argues that the pandemic has inured employees to the blurring between private and shared spaces.


Remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic fueled a boom in “tattleware” – software employers use to monitor employees working outside the office.

Software that captures the behavior of employees using company-owned hardware and networks is not new. Most people working in offices are aware that nothing they do in-office is truly private. They know their employers can and may track their email, messages and browser use.

However, the pandemic expanded the reach of this software intrusion beyond the office and into remote workers’ homes. In April 2020, online searches for information about “remote monitoring” increased more than 200%. By April 2021, they’d more than doubled again. The customer base for this “bossware” – which includes, for example, ActivTrak, FlexiSpy, Sneek, Time...

About the Author

Journalist Sandy Milne has written for The Guardian, Yahoo Singapore and The Times of Israel.

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