Belgium: 300 million for police computing

Teleworking has experienced exponential growth since the start of the pandemic and is accompanied by an increasing use by employers of remote cyber surveillance of employees. Thus, since the beginning of the pandemic, sales of remote control software have grown by more than 500%. One such program, Hubstaff, can take a screenshot of an employee’s computer every five minutes or track GPS data from target employees’ phones. Another, CleverControl, which promises on its homepage to “improve productivity and identify idlers,” can record remote workers’ keystrokes and mouse clicks, sites visited, the duration of those visits, employees’ conversations through the work computer’s microphone, and even take photos via a webcam. . This software is often presented as light (de)installed remotely and without the knowledge of the respective principal.

The practice is especially prevalent in the United States, where it is much less monitored than in Europe. The use of this software is illegal under current Belgian law. In France, the National Commission for Computing and Liberties (CNIL) provides some safeguards, such as the obligation to inform staff representatives if such surveillance measures are applied. On the other hand, Slack messaging, which is very common in Belgian and French companies, already allows you to measure the messaging between colleagues and their activity on the platform and keep accurate statistics on its use. Slack also doesn’t delete any messages, but worse, it allows Plus admins to view data across all channels, including direct messages between colleagues, and export it.

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