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(en) France, UCL AL #313 - Digital, Espionnite: The teleworking guards (ca, de, it, fr, pt)[machine translation]
Mon, 22 Feb 2021 08:14:18 +0200
Spy webcams, time control, keystrokes ... With the massive spread of teleworking
in 2020, employers have sought solutions for generalized surveillance of
employees with the help of digital companies. ---- Surveillance at work is
nothing new. The working class has long been subjected to wardens, foremen and
other controllers and supervisors. ---- Far from the image of Épinal of a desire
for better management and optimization of productivity, this generalized
surveillance only aims to put pressure on workers by scrutinizing all of their
facts. and gestures and looking for the slightest loophole to threaten them. You
have to keep it up if you don't want to lose your job. But the generalization of
teleworking undermines the classic supervisory capacity of bosses.
To overcome these difficulties, digital companies, never left behind in putting
their creativity at the service of the dominant, have developed tools. This is
how we have seen the birth in recent years of software for counting time, random
screenshots, recording of keystrokes on the keyboard or even control of employee
webcams. Some tools even go so far as to rummage through couriers ...
Big boss is watching you
And if you wanted to fill in the digs by investing in digital companies, you had
to have a hollow nose in 2019, as spyware and control software sales jumped 87%
in April 2020, and again by 71% in May. , compared to the average monthly demand
before the onset of the coronavirus. And still 51% from June to September.
Time Doctor, the flagship monitoring software, jumped 202% last April. This
self-proclaimed best software on the market promises to "follow live tasks on
which teams are working" , in addition to providing real-time information on the
sites visited and the connection and disconnection times of teleworkers. Beyond
these specific programs, tools used on a daily basis by millions of employees
also make it possible to set up monitoring: professional messaging, intranet,
collaborative tools (Slack, Teams, etc.), videoconferencing software ( Zoom,
Skype, etc.) and many more.
Practices on the edge of legality
This monitoring is carried out within a legal framework set up by the government
and its "social partners". In order to be able to monitor employees, companies
must inform them. The tools cannot be installed at the expense of employees and
must not infringe on fundamental freedoms, especially with regard to their
privacy. All this "must be justified by the nature of the task to be accomplished
and proportionate to the goal sought". For companies that have them, the CSEs
must be "consulted". For others, "discussions" must take place. In all cases, a
charter must be drawn up by the employers.
If employees use their own computer equipment, bosses cannot impose surveillance
software or sanction those who oppose it. But using your personal equipment to
protect yourself from the coping of your boss is obviously not a solution at a
time when many are claiming decent equipment to carry out their teleworking. For
its part, the CNIL proposes to adapt the "supervision methods" instead of setting
up monitoring tools. But as usual, the opinion of the CNIL, everyone really does
not give a damn... Overall, surveillance at work is framed, on paper.
Yet we can ask ourselves: who, in fact, watches over those who watch us? When we
see the increasingly tense situation at the Labor Inspectorate, we can only doubt
that the State is putting in place the means to control this surveillance.
For employers, the challenges of teleworking do not arise in terms of
psychosocial risks, arduousness, improvement of working conditions, but rather of
monitoring and profitability. In companies, in services, at home, employees are
pressured and exploited. For many, teleworking has already constituted an
intrusion of the professional sphere into the personal sphere. If we add to this
permanent surveillance, employees are no longer even free at home. The employer's
utopia according to which a worker is always able to produce, whether in
companies, services, or telework is therefore on the verge of being realized.
The (tele) work in question
This would be forgetting that the social movement has long since engaged in the
struggle to rebalance the balance of power. In a fierce struggle, the workers
obtained the reduction of working hours, the dismissal of the most violent
supervisors and wardens, and in many companies the right to "wig"continues to
endure. It is clear that the current balance of power is far removed from these
workers' victories. The techniques of monitoring and managing "human resources"
are increasingly pernicious. But we must not let ourselves be defeated.
Put your eyes out of surveillance
Despite the isolation of employees, there are ways to fight against this
surveillance. First, by ensuring that the trade unions seize on this problem, so
that a collective struggle can take place. Then there are techniques to fool and
bypass the surveillance of his bosses. However, this remains individual
initiatives which can have serious consequences for employees. It is becoming
urgent to tackle this problem head-on, as teleworking is tending to impose itself
in many sectors.
Jon (UCL Angers)
Study carried out by the independent site Top10Vpn.
National Interprofessional Agreement (ANI) of 26 November 2020 "for a
successful implementation of teleworking: a useful tool for companies" , signed
by the so-called representative trade unions CFDT, FO, CFE-CGC and CFTC but
denounced by the CGT.
Use of materials and tools by a worker, within the company, during working
time, with the aim of manufacturing or transforming an object outside of
regulatory production, for oneself.
These solutions range from the installation of a virtual machine on his
computer, to the suspension of his mouse to a fan and software to feign activity.
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