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Welcome to the brave new world of workplace surveillance

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Here on Privacy News Online, we write a lot about government surveillance and its impact on privacy. Sadly, constant spying has been normalized to such an extent that workplace surveillance is a thriving new business sector that startups and established companies are rushing to serve. For example, InterGuard promises “complete end-user auditing and control”, and says:

“In most businesses, human capital is your most significant cost. While PCs can increase staff productivity, they can also be a great distraction. By recording all PC activity, both on or off network, Sonar helps you maximize employee productivity by ensuring that your resources are focused on work.”

As well as obvious features such as noting every email sent and received, tracking both sides of instant messaging applications, recording social networking activity, monitoring online searches and which Web sites are visited, InterGuard’s Sonar software will watch for pre-defined keywords, sending alerts to managers and taking a screenshot of the relevant moment. In addition, it has a keystroke logger:

“Capture every keystroke typed even if it is deleted. InterGuard keystroke logger feature provides a reader-friendly version of all keystrokes logged along with the raw keylogging activity so you can see every detail.”

And if that is not enough, it also offers continuous screenshots of employee activity, providing:

“Video-style playback of screenshots for programs and websites selected by you. For example, watch an e-mail as it’s being typed and edited instead of just seeing the finished product.”

Teramind offers similar capabilities, plus a few extra ones, including:

“Administrative ability to interact and take control of a user’s desktop in a potential breach situation

Extensive history logs allow past recordings

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