Usage tracking programs
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    Usage tracking programs

    Hi all,
    Does anyone know--does a company have to tell its employees if it installs a software tracking program on their computers? In other words, a program that tracks how much time you spend on a program, which files you open, how much time you spend on the internet, what pages you visit, how much time you spend on IM, etc.?

    Thanks in advance.

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    Paranoid?

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    You could also phrase the question, "will my emploers know I fuck off almost the entire work day?"



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    If you are running windows you can go into the Task Manager -> Processes Tab and do searches at http://www.processlibrary.com/ to see what's running on your pc. I'm not sure if that will pick up keyloggers and remote access tools but it's worth a shot.

    I know from experience management will do everything in their power to get you fired.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blakboks
    Hi all,
    Does anyone know--does a company have to tell its employees if it installs a software tracking program on their computers? In other words, a program that tracks how much time you spend on a program, which files you open, how much time you spend on the internet, what pages you visit, how much time you spend on IM, etc.?

    Thanks in advance.
    No, they don't.

    It's their machines, software, internet connections etc, they can do whatever they want with it including tracking every key you press and every webpage you visit.

    There's usually something that sets out what is "acceptable" use of the facilities in your contract, if you've broken that then they are entitled to kick your ass.

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    Anid Maro's Avatar
    Anid Maro is offline Psychotic Eldritch Zeppelin Level 9 Gladiator: Hoplomachi
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    As Flake said, no they don't. But keep in mind, though computers can track every little thing you do, they still need to have an actual person sift through all that data. So yes, a computer can track what you do every second of every day, but that doesn't mean that someone is opening up those log files.

    If, however, someone gets tipped off that you're screwing around at 3PM Monday, then they can go into the logs and find what you were doing at that specific time.

    Generally, if you're going to surf the 'net, make sure you're still getting your job done and don't go anywhere too risque (porn is a definate no-no, but I doubt they'll raise a ruckus if you kill 15 minutes at msnbc.com).

    Or, don't use their internet for anything but work.

    As Flake pointed out, if their contract allows them to fire you for spending 15 minutes at msnbc.com, then they can. Period.

    -My work can be found at my local directory thread.
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    Hey, thanks for the replies everyone.

    I'm really not concerned about the tracking, but it really feels like espionage (aren't spies usually executed ).

    I'm just really upset by it, because I work at a small company, and I've been told I was one of the 'test subjects' for the program. They then when on to say that its purpose was for others than 'spying' (they didn't say it wasn't for spying, they just said it was for these other purposes). I don't know, I guess I just feel betrayed by these people. That they think that we're so untrustworthy that they need to spy on us. I am just asking whether or not it is legal out of curiosity, I have no intention of taking legal action against the company even if it were deemed not legal.

    Regarding saying "it's they're computers, they can do whatever they want," it does not seem constitutionally right to do such a thing. Putting a tracking program on the computer (which, as I understand is not a keylogger in this case) sounds to me to be similar to recording phone conversations--like when you call into a customer service line, and they say "for quality assurance purposes, some phone calls may be monitored." That is to say that if you're going to do it, you should let the parties involved know it, or at the very least, to make sure people don't always know when they're being "watched" to say that some people will be monitored while others won't, etc. etc.

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    Anid Maro's Avatar
    Anid Maro is offline Psychotic Eldritch Zeppelin Level 9 Gladiator: Hoplomachi
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    Quote Originally Posted by blakboks
    Hey, thanks for the replies everyone.

    I'm really not concerned about the tracking, but it really feels like espionage (aren't spies usually executed ).
    Only the enemy's spies.

    Quote Originally Posted by blakboks
    Regarding saying "it's they're computers, they can do whatever they want," it does not seem constitutionally right to do such a thing. Putting a tracking program on the computer (which, as I understand is not a keylogger in this case) sounds to me to be similar to recording phone conversations--like when you call into a customer service line, and they say "for quality assurance purposes, some phone calls may be monitored." That is to say that if you're going to do it, you should let the parties involved know it, or at the very least, to make sure people don't always know when they're being "watched" to say that some people will be monitored while others won't, etc. etc.
    It works differently for employees of a company, especially using their equipment. You aren't bringing in your computer to work, are you? They have the right to know what people are doing on their computers, and if they choose to do so by installing tracking equipment, then they can. The employee doesn't have any sort of right to use the company's equipment, anything provided is done at the company's discretion and used only with their approval on their terms.

    Regarding phone calls, I wouldn't be too surprised if it were legal for them to record phone calls made from their phone lines. How can it be illegal to monitor your own equipment/property?

    -My work can be found at my local directory thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anid Maro
    It works differently for employees of a company, especially using their equipment. You aren't bringing in your computer to work, are you? They have the right to know what people are doing on their computers, and if they choose to do so by installing tracking equipment, then they can. The employee doesn't have any sort of right to use the company's equipment, anything provided is done at the company's discretion and used only with their approval on their terms.
    Right, I'm not saying they have no right to do it. I believe that they have every right to, actually. My issues regard them doing it and NOT saying anything about it until a while after it'd been done, and then only finding out about it by hearsay (in other words, not by "the management").

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    Quote Originally Posted by blakboks
    Right, I'm not saying they have no right to do it. I believe that they have every right to, actually. My issues regard them doing it and NOT saying anything about it until a while after it'd been done, and then only finding out about it by hearsay (in other words, not by "the management").
    Well, if all we're arguing is whether or not they're sneaky bastards, then I agree, they are sneaky bastards.

    -My work can be found at my local directory thread.
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    Would you change your habits if you knew it was installed? Of course you would. Hence the need to to tell you. Now they can check what you did before you knew and what you do now that you know and check the differences. Who's being sneaky now?

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    Heh, actually, maybe this is being paranoid, but I've pretty much always used the computers taking into consideration that they 'could' be keeping track of what I do. Now, I actually know they do.

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