Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I Was There

Okay, most of us who have a work provided emails and/or internet access got some sort of boilerplate notification that your company reserves the right to monitor your activities, blah, blah, blah. I go back and forth on this. Yes, I understand that if I use my work account to download kiddie porn or set up an illegal gambling site that the company is potentially at legal risk (I imagine) and also subject to embarrassment for allowing such behavior to occur. And that, even if I don't get caught, they are paying for this stuff so I can work, not so I can shop.
But, on the other hand, where does my right to privacy start (or end)? Because one could argue that they hired me to do job, and as long as I do my job, everything else is my business. It is not the same as if I use my company phone to rack up long-distance, they have already paid for my email account and internet access, my usage does not affect their bottom line. My quality of work does.
But, anyhoo, with the use of GPS to assist drivers and RFID tags to track merchandise, and GPS in phones, the possibilities for monitoring are even greater. Having worked in a call center, I am familiar with the idea of my day being very specifically monitored - number of calls, length of calls, amount of time not on a call, and so on. So perhaps my righteous indignation is worn down.
A construction worker was caught when his company issued phone (with GPS tracker) was compared to his time sheet. It turns out he left early, 83 times (over five months). Now, in the suit, he argued that he had never been made aware that he could be tracked, and apparently his state does not require it, although one story mentioned the the phone booklet did mention that even if you turned off the feature, some information would still be available. And you know, once or twice or even once a month, while not great, is one thing. But eighty three times?
Apparently, it was pointed out that he did often show up early, so I don't know if part of it was that he was giving himself unsanctioned flex time. The thing is, as much as it sucks, you kind of can't do that. And he also had time cards that were stamped with hours that were not what he worked. Since the articles I read did not indicate that he had cleared this with someone, I assume falsifying the time cards was probably enough cause for firing, the GPS data was how they proved the falsification.