Every Breath You Take, Every Move You Make : Cybersurveillance in the Workplace and the Worker’s Privacy

Teresa Coelho Moreira

Abstract

The themes of privacy and cybersurveillance by the employer have been turning in a matter of considerable interest and surrounded by great controversy in the last years.

The Internet changed the business landscape, making it far more competitive and the workplace considerably more fast-moving. But, on the other hand, it also hastened the advent of widespread twenty-four-hour connectivity, particularly through netcentric technologies.

Together, these factors led to a re-conceptualization of work time and private life, making that the concept of work-life balance gained new meaning in a highly competitive and global economy in which each worker is accessible at any time, from any place and employees can access their colleagues, documents, and data from just about anywhere.

This new form of control establishes powerful means of cybersurveillance and of memorization, but also of analysis thus interfering in people’s privacy, and one of the major challenges today is the regulation of the electronic control in the workplace because the advancement of modern technology, notably computers and the Internet, has made it possible to collect and store information on a seemingly limitless scale, while also facilitating access to it.

This has led to a new and much more intrusive form of control. Almost everything can be controlled, even the way the worker thinks, because these instruments leave footprints that are immediately perceptible to the employer.

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