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Spied on at work... 1984 has arrived
Old 02-12-2013, 09:02 AM   #1
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Spied on at work... 1984 has arrived

Many years ago, in the mid 1970's, the company that I worked for, went through a "fairness" process, where employees were told that they would be paid based on productivity, and that the productivity goals would be set by... the employee him/herself. The process was called "Management by Objective". In fact, it was an exercise by which management could identify and weed out non productive workers. It was a psychological ploy, to lower expenses, under the guise of corporate benevolence.
That was then... This is now....
The Creepy, Intrusive Ways You're Being Spied on at Work | Alternet
Despite my own distrust of upper level management's sensitivity to workers' needs and concerns, this long article about spying in the workplace, blew me away. I was aware of Email monitoring, and advanced vetting of employees, but this opened up a new chapter in Orwellian thought. At least, in the earlier version of surveillance (1984), privacy was still available in darkened hidey places. Now... they don't exist. From electronic surveillance, to the (current) ultimate RFID's... this is an eye opener.

Only a step away from zombies and vampires... What next?
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:13 AM   #2
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Our employers are certainly correct to want to know what we are doing while on the job. The folks I'm working for now are fantastic and I'm confident would never misuse information. My present boss is the smartest guy I've ever met, very fair, and always puts the company first. I hope to be like him someday.
Well, I'm off my break now. I usually forget to even take my break, I get so wrapped up in this work!

I'll write more when I get home to my personal computer.
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:53 AM   #3
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I wonder if they also put Anna's coworker on probation for logging on to Anna's computer and sending an email using Anna's computer. In places where I worked, that would be a bigger violation than getting to work late.

While I'm sure there are some idiot organizations and idiot bosses out there that behave the way Anna's boss does, in my experience it is few and far between (but I think I have been lucky).

When I had people working for me (on salary) they would sometimes have things that they wanted to take some time off for (say, a child's concert at school or the like). I always responded that as long as the work that needed to get done was done on time and done well that I didn't give a care if they did it at 2 o'clock in the afternoon or 2 o'clock in the morning and within reason I was more interested in results than in when they came and went. It worked well for us and I didn't have to watch the clock.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:01 PM   #4
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I read the article. Anna should have never let a coworker have her password to log into her account, let alone sending out an email as herself. That's a big no-no! Dumb!
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:12 PM   #5
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I wonder if they also put Anna's coworker on probation for logging on to Anna's computer and sending an email using Anna's computer. In places where I worked, that would be a bigger violation than getting to work late.
Yes, that normally would violate company security policies resulting in termination of both parties ( unless the account was hacked ). No one in their right mind would use an email time stamp for time clocking, too easy to fake or even send from a remote location not on site. Most of the article doesn't pass common sense.
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:03 PM   #6
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Hmmm... didja read the whole 9 page article?... or just the part about Anna...

The article was very long, but the Anna part didn't seem important to me... it was the rest, about the hotels and hospitals and doctors and the spies and counterspies that surprised me.
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:03 PM   #7
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MBO, yes, I remember that. One of my objectives at the time I had to fill out the form was that I get to keep my job if I don't meet all the other stated objectives.

I wonder if the employers in Silicon Valley at companies like Facebook, Apple, Google, etc have rigid employee surveillance systems in place? (I kind of doubt it)
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Old 02-12-2013, 01:18 PM   #8
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Only a step away from zombies and vampires... What next?
The scary version? The gummint uses these methods on us to see if we're paying our "fair share", to see if we've committed a "crime", see if we like/support the "wrong" people (fill in your own group of those on a "list" someplace).

I know it's TV, so maybe it doesn't actually happen: A cop-show organization was investigating someone (maybe a murder or some such). Turned out some fed friends had info because the person (or someone involved) had used certain "words" in a conversation. According to the show (and I'm not surprised if this is true) international calls are electronically screened for certain key words. Some of these words got used in conversation which was totally out of context for the words involved. That got the people on a "list" which could be legally recorded/investigated without warrants. When the fed friend finally (accidentally) figured out that the folks were "innocent", he said "I guess we goofed." Yeah, I know, it's only TV, but the technology is absolutely in place. (See my tag line.) Of course, as ever, YMMV.
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Old 02-12-2013, 02:20 PM   #9
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There was, I beleive a Harward business case study of the Lincoln company, makers of electric welders. They paid stricly based on performance. Some figured out a way to game the system.

A typist in the office was caught dring lunch time typing random keys on her typwriter, while eating her lunch. Since she was paid by the number of characters typed, she successfully padded her salary.

How did the company know the number of characters typed? They installed counters that incremented up each time a key was pressed.

I beleive they did not stop the monitoring process, but prohibited people from eating lunch at their work area.
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Old 02-12-2013, 03:10 PM   #10
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There was, I beleive a Harward business case study of the Lincoln company, makers of electric welders. They paid stricly based on performance. Some figured out a way to game the system.

A typist in the office was caught dring lunch time typing random keys on her typwriter, while eating her lunch. Since she was paid by the number of characters typed, she successfully padded her salary.

How did the company know the number of characters typed? They installed counters that incremented up each time a key was pressed.

I beleive they did not stop the monitoring process, but prohibited people from eating lunch at their work area.
I love it. Once again, it "proves" my tag line. YMMV
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Old 02-12-2013, 03:17 PM   #11
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Sorry. Forgot to mention that, by prohibiting sitting at the w*rk station during lunch, much w*rk by the 50% of dedicated workers who w*rk (at least some) during lunch went out the window. The law of unintended consequences is ignored at ones own peril, I suppose. YMMV
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Old 02-12-2013, 03:17 PM   #12
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Hmmm... didja read the whole 9 page article?... or just the part about Anna...

The article was very long, but the Anna part didn't seem important to me... it was the rest, about the hotels and hospitals and doctors and the spies and counterspies that surprised me.
No just the first part and skimmed the next couple pages and then gave up. Too long.
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Old 02-12-2013, 03:44 PM   #13
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Nothing really new here, in the old days lists of telephone calls were sent to managment and long distance calls were scruitinized in fact I believe even in the 1970s one had to prepare a brief saying what one would talk about, I recall in 1976 being given a long distance access code so that any calls I made could be monitored. In addition if you wrote on company letterhead that letter had to be approved. For a while now brokers telephone calls have been recorded, and as a result they step outside and use a cell phone. So its not new just modified for the new technologies. (In one sense email with a company address is sort of like letterhead, allthough it is not today, back in 1993 we had to insert a disclaimer on email leaving the company saying that the contents were not necessairly the opinion of the company..)
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:12 PM   #14
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Our employers are certainly correct to want to know what we are doing while on the job. The folks I'm working for now are fantastic and I'm confident would never misuse information. My present boss is the smartest guy I've ever met, very fair, and always puts the company first. I hope to be like him someday.
Well, I'm off my break now. I usually forget to even take my break, I get so wrapped up in this work!

I'll write more when I get home to my personal computer.
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Old 02-12-2013, 04:18 PM   #15
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I am still reading about Anna...


But, if she got in 45 minutes later, she should have sent her own email to the boss showing what time she arrived... if she did not, she was involved with the deception...

However, I would hate to work for a place that tried to keep this close of tabs on my time...
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Old 02-12-2013, 07:23 PM   #16
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I am still reading about Anna...


But, if she got in 45 minutes later, she should have sent her own email to the boss showing what time she arrived... if she did not, she was involved with the deception...

However, I would hate to work for a place that tried to keep this close of tabs on my time...
Not sure how I see Anna's 'arrival time e-mail' as all that different from punching the time clock years ago. Misusing someone's time card (e.g. punching someone else in/out) was grounds for firing.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:34 PM   #17
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Not sure how I see Anna's 'arrival time e-mail' as all that different from punching the time clock years ago. Misusing someone's time card (e.g. punching someone else in/out) was grounds for firing.

I agree... but the article made it seem like Anna was not involved... so if she was not, then she knew nothing about the first email and would have sent in her own 45 minutes later... since she did not, then I would assume she had asked the other person to send it for her....


Grounds for both to be fired if that is what is important to the company.... or if they are hourly workers....
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