In response to Covid-19, many organizations have allowed or even required employees to work remotely. This means workers can practice social distancing without falling behind on work and while still collecting a paycheck.
It’s no secret that connecting with co-workers and management through tools like Slack, Zoom, and Google Hangouts is just not the same as going into the office. But technical glitches aren’t the only area of concern as meetings are relegated to bits and bytes. User privacy is, as well.
“As we move more of our everyday lives onto these platforms, we’re going to be looking at new and different and maybe even greater privacy risks in terms of corporate surveillance and employer surveillance,” said Gennie Gebhart, associate director of research for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a leading nonprofit digital rights group. (Disclosure: I’ve previously written for the EFF, most recently in early 2019.)
Transitioning to being on these tools the entire day while employees work from home may give some employers a new opportunity to see what workers are doing. You should be aware that, depending on the software your company uses and the policies it has in place, there may be some privacy concerns.
Your boss may be able to read your Slack DMs
Many people have used Slack at work already, but if everyone’s working from home, it’s only natural to move watercooler conversations that would’ve happened in person to the platform instead. That isn’t always a good idea.
“What many workers in a company Slack may not know is that your DMs (direct messages) to another user, while seemingly private, may be just as visible to your boss and human resources department as anything you post in a channel to other users,” said Tarah Wheeler, a cybersecurity policy fellow at New America, a think tank focused on technology and media.
“Corporate export for all messages” is only available for organizations that have a paid Plus or Enterprise Grid account, rather than the Free or Standard accounts, and Slack states that workspace owners need to have…