Does My Employer Spy On Me?

Aside from monitoring employees’ emails, some companies are keeping track of texts, chat messages, phone calls and ID badges, The Wall Street Journal reported. According to the outlet, workers have been signing agreements for years that say any communication that happens on a company device is the property of the company, but employers are finally coming around to using that information. There’s what’s legally right and what you need to do to maintain trusting relationships with your employees, and they are not always the same thing,” Stacia Garr, the co-founder of RedThread Research, a firm that advises companies on issues related to human resources, told The Journal.

Many of us have given up on the idea of carrying around a dedicated work phone. Here’s one reason: Your work account might be spying on you in the background. When you add a work email address to your phone, you’ll likely be asked to install something called a Mobile Device Management profile. Until the iPhone debuted over a decade ago and brought smartphones to the masses, it was common practice for companies to issue a corporate BlackBerry or Palm Pilot, allowing their employees to check email on the go, and do more work. Companies were happy to let employees access their email on their own devices, which saved the cost of buying separate work phones and data plans, but it also meant that individuals who accepted the arrangement lost control over their sensitive data. Some third-party MDM tools relate all of this to worker productivity. You might reasonably expect this kind of monitoring on a dedicated work device, but perhaps not on your personal phone. Once your work email and MDM is installed the two are essentially the same thing. It’s a good idea to pause as you’re adding a work email to your device, and it prompts you for the installation of an MDM profile. If it’s allowed by your admin, you can create a separate “Work” profile that contains sandboxed versions of your apps to avoid blurring the line between personal and work. The work profile can then be disabled on demand and flipped back on only when you need it, providing a level of control that iOS doesn’t yet allow. For iOS users, if an app is required to be installed with your work email, flip off location access in the settings to cut it off from GPS, or consider adding a “Restriction” via parental controls that doesn’t allow it to start in the first place. The most powerful thing you can do to protect yourself in the first place might mean keeping your work email off your own phone and demanding a work-provided one.

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