Spy-Like Functionality in Computer Monitoring Software. When is it too Much?
Spyware vs Employee Performance Monitoring Software
Spyware is a software that ‘spies’ on somebody’s privacy by collecting and accessing personal sensitive data. (More about it: ‘What is Spyware or Spying Software?’)
Employee Performance Monitoring Software is computer software, which monitors activities and data that affect performance level. (More about it: What is Employee Performance Monitoring Software?)
When reviewing Spyware and Employee Performance Monitoring Software closely it appears that neither features nor business areas of both types of software overlap (refer to the mentioned above articles). Considering the above mentioned, lawyers advise having in mind the business reasons and goals when implementing monitoring software then it’ll be possible to solve all the tasks without going too far.
Spying, investigation and more: Spyware is basically good for spying on a person or for investigation purposes as it collects personal information. It has nothing to do with employee performance monitoring. Also, there is a specific type of spyware that is used for retrieving login names and passwords in order to get access to web banking accounts, but this is not something that is offered on the market; this software acts like a virus so people get it on their computers when clicking improper links and attachments etc.
Employee Performance Monitoring: Employee Performance Monitoring software is for performance monitoring purposes only, and it does not deal with any personal data as such information is not required for employee performance monitoring.
Software Misusage – Reasons and Results
Most of the software on the market are declared as Employee Performance Monitoring Software that is actually Spying Software or Spyware as it offers spying features (For more information: What is Spyware or Spying Software?’).
Here misusage comes: spying features are offered and used as employee performance monitoring features. The most common reasons for managers or employers, who are looking for spying features, are poor management and lack of planning. In this case, some managers prefer to go for micromanagement, in order to control every step of the employees hoping that this would help to increase performance and quality level. But it does not help. It causes problems instead by creating an impossible draconian environment at the workplace. Employees are floating around as they are not happy with it. Also sometimes unhappy employees try to sue employers for spying on them. This is the result.
So, Spyware or Performance Monitoring?
It depends on your needs. If you want to spy on your employees – spyware will do the job, but consult your lawyer before using such spying software.
If you are interested in employee performance monitoring – do not use spying software as it does not deal with performance monitoring and may infringe on the rights of personal privacy. Just follow lawyers’ advice below and your employees will start spending more time on work-related activities rather than for personal needs during working hours.
Professional Lawyers Advise
The law is different depending on the country or state but there is common advice that professional lawyers give: remain business related when applying monitoring at the workplace, create clear monitoring policies, announce the fact of monitoring to the employees, get employees’ consent for monitoring.
See more Information per Country in What’s next section
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This article provides general information only. This information is for general understanding only and not to be used as legal advice. To receive professional legal advice, please consult your lawyer.