Employees are facing more online surveillance than ever

A surveillance camera and someone using a laptop.
(Image credit: ImageFlow / Shutterstock)

The rate of employee surveillance is getting out of hand after rising during the pandemic, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has warned. 

The organization has published a report in which it claims almost two-thirds (60%) of employees reported being under some form of technological surveillance and monitoring, up from 53% last year.

Furthermore, three in ten survey respondents said surveillance increased during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

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Regulating surveillance tech

Technological surveillance and monitoring is described as businesses having access to emails, files, and webcams installed on work computers, as well as being able to record typing patterns and keystrokes, telephone calls, as well as other “traceable movements”. 

The European Union has proposed a law that would deem workplace AI products “high risk” and in need of human oversight. The TUC says the UK has nothing of the sort, warning that the country is “falling behind its EU counterparts” when it comes to the rights of the workers. 

At the same time, the workers would definitely support such a legislative framework. The TUC says support is strong, with roughly 80% of respondents being pro legislation which would force companies to “consult” before introducing surveillance tools - up 7% compared to last year. 

They are also for preventing businesses from using such tools outside working hours. 

It’s usually the “gig economy” (freelancers, contractors, and other online collaborators) where businesses are expected to use AI-powered surveillance, but TUC’s data is showing that some 70% of workers experienced surveillance in industries such as financial services, retail, and utilities. 

 Via: Financial Times

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.