Managers have been trying to control workers for well over a century. Amazon’s new employee-tracking wristbands are just the latest innovation.
From the abstract:
U.S. workers are increasingly finding it difficult to escape from work. Through their smartphones, email, and social media, work tethers them to their workstations well after the work day has ended. Whether at home or in transit, employers are asking or requiring employees to complete assignments, tasks, and projects outside of working hours. This practice has a profound detrimental impact on employee privacy and autonomy, safety and health, productivity and compensation, and rest and leisure. France and Germany have responded to this emerging workplace issue by taking different legal approaches to providing their employees a right to disconnect from the workplace. Although both the French legislative and German corporate self-regulation models have their advantages, this paper puts forth a hybrid approach using existing U.S. safety and health law under OSHA to respond to this employee disconnection problem. Initially under the general duty of clause of OSHA, and then under OSHA permanent standards and variances, this article provides a uniquely American approach to establishing an employee right to disconnect from work.
A campaign to publicly identify participants in white supremacist rallies has been met with calls for employers to fire the protesters. That’s the dilemma Top Dogs in Berkeley, Calif., faced after Twitter user @YesYoureRacist shared a photo it said showed one of the hot dog restaurant’s employees at a demonstration in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend. Participants carried torches and reportedly chanted “white lives matter” and “Jews will not replace us.” The next day, participants showed up carrying Nazi swastikas, Confederate battle flags, and insignia of white supremacist groups…..
Source: Speak Together, 2017
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How to Track What Congress Is Doing on the Internet
Source: Louise Matsakis, Motherboard, June 12, 2017
There’s now a way to track what government employees, including elected officials, are doing online during working hours. A new plugin created by a software engineer in North Carolina lets website administrators monitor when someone accesses their site from an IP address associated with the federal government. It was created in part to protest a piece of legislation the president signed earlier this year. In April, President Trump signed a measure allowing internet service providers (ISPs) to sell sensitive information about your online habits without needing your consent, rolling back Obama-era regulations intended to stop that very thing from happening…..
Source: Clement L. Tsao, Kevin J. Haskins, Brian D. Hall, ABA National Symposium on Technology in Labor and Employment Law, Presented by the Technology in the Practice and Workplace Committee April 5-7, 2017
….It should not be difficult to imagine that the ability to track each employee’s precise location and physiological activity could have a chilling effect on protected concerted activity under the NLRA. Depending on the type of wearable technology involved, employers could eventually, if not already, have the equivalent of a workplace ankle bracelet, i.e., GPS monitoring device, that could be used as a tool to monitor or interfere with protected concerted activity. For workplaces where there is a certified collective bargaining representative, wearable technology, or any form of a surveillance system, should be a mandatory subject of bargaining. See Colgate-Palmolive Co., 323 NLRB 515, 515-16 (1997) (where the Board held that installation and use of surveillance cameras were mandatory subjects of bargaining). Given the likely chilling effect on protected concerted activity as well as in order to reduce the risk of unlawful surveillance, employers should establish and enforce policies for disabling wearable technology and collecting wearable data outside of working hours….
…..Wearable technology excels at providing data on health. The pedometer of yesterday has been relegated to the vintage dustbin: today’s fitness trackers, like those from Fitbit, Jawbone, Garmin, and Apple, can track not only heart rate and calories burned, but sleep patterns, walking patterns, sweat, diet, and a whole host of other health attributes when paired with mobile apps for tracking mood, fertility, and medication, to name just few. Although many of these devices are designed for the consumer market, they are becoming increasingly common in the workplace, often as part of employee wellness programs. Companies are also finding wearable devices useful for enhancing worker safety: devices for monitoring a worker’s hydration, temperature, movement, and external hazards are already available, and research is continuing into how to coordinate these tools into a “technological guardian angel” for workers. Not surprisingly, the proliferation of wearable technology in the workplace raises a number of legal issues. In particular, the intersection of wearable technology and health implicates issues under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (“GINA”), and health privacy laws like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”)…..
Everything was so easy a decade back. Employees used company issued computers, spoke on company cell phones, and played by all the rules of CIOs and IT departments. They usually weren’t allowed to use their own laptops or mobile devices, which allowed the IT departments to keep everything locked down.
The more generous companies gave high-profile workers Blackberries, but even those were controlled by a very strict set of guidelines. And they were Blackberries, after all. Not the best devices for surfing the internet or watching videos.
But then the mobile revolution happened. Steve Jobs invented the iPhone, YouTube, Pandora Internet Radio and Spotify Music made significant inroads with users and suddenly people wanted to bring their own devices to work. No longer content to use archaic computers and ancient communication devices, employees wanted to do both personal and business activities on the same device.
And so many companies began implementing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, allowing workers to use whatever computer or phone they desired. These policies have, in many ways, been a great boon to productivity and have huge advantages. But there are also some significant downfalls to the rise in BYOD.
In this article, I lay out the pros and cons of BYOD, as well as try to provide a bit of objective analysis of the situation…..
From the abstract:
The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable “searches and seizures,” but in the digital age of stingray devices and IP tracking, what constitutes a search or seizure? The Supreme Court has held that the threshold question is supposed to depend on and reflect the “reasonable expectations” of ordinary members of the public concerning their own privacy. For example, the police now exploit the “third party” doctrine to access data held by email and cell phone providers, without securing a warrant, on the Supreme Court’s intuition that the public has no expectation of privacy in that information. Is that assumption correct? If judges’ intuitions about privacy do not reflect actual public expectations, it may undermine the legitimacy of the criminal justice system and exacerbate social unrest.
Although prior research has shown that the police disproportionately target younger people and minority communities, judges tend to be male, white, educated, affluent, and older than the general population. Their intuitions may thus be systematically different. Even worse, cognitive science suggests that judges may have difficulty putting themselves into the shoes of the searched person or considering the reasonableness of the police tactics from an ex ante perspective, without knowledge about the fruits of the search.
With 1200 respondents, we conducted a large-scale survey experiment to test whether, and if so, why, contemporary Fourth Amendment jurisprudence diverges from the societal norms it purports to protect and reflect. We identify a range of privacy expectations for 18 different police practices. We use oversampling, reweighting, and randomization to investigate particular causes of this disparity between judicial and public expectations. We conclude by suggesting better ways forward, so that social science evidence can replace judicial speculation.
The discussion about how law enforcement or government intelligence agencies might rapidly decode information someone else wants to keep secret is – or should be – shifting. One commonly proposed approach, introducing what is called a “backdoor” to the encryption algorithm itself, is now widely recognized as too risky to be worth pursuing any further.
The scholarly and research community, the technology industry and Congress appear to be in agreement that weakening the encryption that in part enables information security – even if done in the name of public safety or national security – is a bad idea. Backdoors could be catastrophic, jeopardizing the security of billions of devices and critical communications.
What comes next? Surely police and spy agencies will still want, or even need, information stored by criminals in encrypted forms. Without a backdoor, how might they get access to data that may help them solve – or even prevent – a crime?
The future of law enforcement and intelligence gathering efforts involving digital information is an emerging field that I and others who are exploring it sometimes call “lawful hacking.” Rather than employing a skeleton key that grants immediate access to encrypted information, government agents will have to find other technical ways – often involving malicious code – and other legal frameworks…..
Since mid-2014, a number of police killings of residents has produced public outrage, civil disorder, and strong antipolice sentiment, especially among minority residents. In response to this crisis, in December 2014, President Obama formed the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and charged it with developing recommendations to enhance trust between police and minority communities, as well as to improve police accountability.
The task force final report, published in May 2015, highlighted body-worn cameras (BWCs) as a potential tool for achieving those objectives. Since 2015, the White House, Congress, and the U.S. Department of Justice have strongly supported the adoption of BWCs by police.
This is evidenced by the creation of a National Body-Worn Camera Toolkit by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and a federal funding program that has provided nearly $40 million to more than 175 law enforcement agencies for the purchase of BWCs; development of robust and comprehensive policies for BWC use; podcasts from researchers, subject matter experts, and practitioners; and a training and technical assistance mechanism that helps with BWC adoption and program management.
Hiding devices in lights and ID badges, your boss can legally track you everywhere but the bathroom.