For years, employers have used surveillance to keep tabs on their employees on the job. Cameras have watched as workers moved cash in and out of registers, GPS has reported on the movements of employees driving company vehicles, and software has been monitoring people’s work email.
Now, with more work being done remotely, many of those same surveillance tools are entering people’s homes. A marketing company in Minnesota forced employees to install software that would record videos of employee’s screens and even cut their hours if they took a bathroom break that was too long. A New York e-commerce company told employees that they would have to install monitoring software on their personal computers that would log keystrokes and mouse movements—and they’d have to install an app on their phones that would track their movements throughout the workday.
The situation isn’t limited to the US, either. One multinational company appears to be testing the boundaries of what’s an acceptable level of surveillance for remote workers. Teleperformance, one of the world’s largest call center companies, is reportedly requiring some employees to consent to video monitoring in their homes. Employees in Colombia told NBC News that their new contract granted the company the right to use AI-powered cameras to observe and record their workspaces. The contract also requires employees to share biometric data like fingerprints and photos of themselves, and workers have to agree to share data and images that may include children under 18.