Are you dodging work at your current company? Beware, your low productivity might be getting tracked by your employer. But is keylogging legal? While internet logs are checked by many companies worldwide, there is a new trend where bosses might have been installing keyloggers on the office computers. According to reports, a German company decided to install a keylogging software on the PCs at the workplace. After this one of the employees were thrown out because he was found to be playing a computer game but for another company. While this is a wrong practice, but a German court decided to go against it. After the ouster, the employee sued the company saying that the information was collected using illegal methods. Following this, the country’s Federal Labor Court agreed, The Next Web reported. This raises a very pertinent question, whether such extreme levels of surveillance is legal or ethical?
After the incident, the German court reportedly said that keylogging, where every key stroke is stored by the company, is an unlawful way to control the workers. It said that such methods are too much of surveillance, the report added. However, in a report in The Register, it was stated that companies can use the method of keylogging “legally if it was to root out evidence of a criminal or serious offence.” But in this case, it was indeed not ethical. Interestingly TNW report said that the employee had accepted that he was working on a game, but added that it was for his father’s firm and he only worked during his lunch hours.
You may like to watch this interesting video:
Apart from Germany taking a stance, even France did something regarding this a few years ago in 2013. The French Data Protection Authority (CNIL) gave a ruling that keylogging means permanently controlling professional and personal work of the workers, there is no need to do so unless there is a “strong business justification.” It has cited examples such as ‘disclosure of trade secrets’.
The sad fact is that there is no common rule or system which can prevent such an act. Time to time, certain courts might have made such rulings in particular cases, but there is no strong law currently which can prohibit such acts by employers. Even in the US, the rules vary from state to state, and the laws also vary on how the data is used by the firms.
All in all, the act of tracking what you type, letter by letter, is a creepy act apart from being risky from a security angle. From making your email IDs vulnerable to revealing your personal work, such acts can be really dangerous for you. While there may not be strong rules to prevent keylogging, you can definitely sue your employer if you find such a thing happening. It is imperative for you to be careful and safe!