Monitoring Employee Internet Use

Many employers are now considering putting up measures to monitor how their employees use the Internet, and it has become a troubling topic.

The question of the employees’ right to privacy has been raised, while employers believe that such procedure protects their computers from becoming infected with malicious software as well as become a medium for employees to divulge trade secrets with competitors.

What do Internet monitoring programs track?

Traditionally, Internet surveillance software can look into employees e-mail to check out if they are spilling company secrets to competing organizations. Business telephones can also be tapped to listen to conversations between employees and customers.

However, the new batch of Internet surveillance systems would not only able to track down visited websites, but would even monitor the keys that the employees enter on their keyboards.

The question of privacy

Employees may visit websites not only for their personal entertainment but because they feel the need to join in an anonymous community because of the sensitivity of the issue that they cannot share with others.

For instance, an employer may feel torn if he discovers that his top employee is a member of a group of domestic abuse victims, or a community for HIV+ individuals.

Ways to monitor without the invasion of privacy

Employees can enforce their Internet Usage Policies in the office all while maintaining privacy of their employees.

For instance, instead of monitoring the websites employees visit, the organization should provide a list of websites that are blocked from visiting such as sex sites, web videos, and discussion forums. Employers can also permit their workers to surf for websites unrelated to work during their break time.

Meanwhile, employers should consider checking out for methods that would only enable them to read the headers of e-mails instead of showing the whole message. The To and From fields are enough to identify whether the e-mail is suspicious.

 
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