Workplace surveillance: how your boss is spying on you

More companies are using surveillance software to track employees' work in the office and at home, monitoring keystrokes, mouse clicks and utilizing the webcam.

Listen 49:30

It’s called “tattleware” or “bossware” – software that companies are increasingly using to monitor their workers in the office and at home. Employers can track keystrokes and mouse clicks, listen to and read conversations, and use a computer’s webcam to take photos—sometimes every minute. Use of these surveillance technologies by businesses increased during the pandemic with the switch to remote work, when managers were no longer able to keep an eye on workers in the office. This hour, the rise of workplace surveillance technologies – we’ll discuss what’s being tracked, if it’s even productive, and how employees can protect their privacy.


J.S. Nelson, visiting researcher at Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation and co-author of  Business Ethics: What Everyone Needs to Know. She is writing a book on worker surveillance.

We recommend

The New York Times, The Rise of the Worker Productivity Score – “Across industries and incomes, more employees are being tracked, recorded and ranked. What is gained, companies say, is efficiency and accountability. What is lost?”

The Guardian, ‘Bossware is coming for almost every worker’: the software you might not realize is watching you – “Computer monitoring software is helping companies spy on their employees to measure their productivity – often without their consent.”

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