Can Your Work From Home Software HiJack Your Webcam?

I know I’ve been talking a lot lately about working from home and that’s because the amount of real remote jobs out here today is absolutely AMAZEBALLS!!! I’m finding so many work-at-home opportunities that I’m finding it hard not submit applications while I’m already working from home. It seems that every time I turn around, there just seems to be a better opportunity that pops up.

But that’s not what I’m writing about today. Today I’m reaching out to people who are already working from home via software provided for you by the company you work for. For instance, I work for a company now that requires me to run a program through a special drive that changes the interface of my computer and turns it into a “company computer”. This software interface allows the company to also access my computer without expressed consent. In other words, while I’m working QA and can look into my computer and see what I’m doing on my screen.

This doesn’t bother me because I’m not doing anything I shouldn’t be doing on that computer. I’m doing all that stuff on a separate computer on my desk next to it. But all of that aside, watching a Snowden documentary got me thinking. Can my boss see what I’m having for lunch today? Can they see me right now sitting here in my underwear? Are they watching mute the caller and curse them out?

I wish the answer was a simple yes or no but it’s not. Are they capable of doing this? Absolutely. Are there laws that keep them from doing this? Absolutely Not. The standard PSA goes a little something like this:

“Privacy doesn’t exist when it comes to what you do at work (and while using anything belonging to your employer). In the same way private employees lose other rights as part of their employment (e.g., freedom of speech), employees lose their right to digital privacy, particularly when using company-owned equipment, servers and technologies.” Per the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, “The owner of the email, IM and phone message systems is allowed to access electronic communications.

In essence, if you are working from home using an outsourcing company’s software to do so, not only are they privy to everything on your personal computer that works with their software, their software can access ALL areas of your computer to give you access to your job. This means your webcam too!

The employment law firm Granovsky & Sundaresh PLLC details on its website:

“Your employer can monitor just about anything that comes in and out of work devices and over its network. This includes, but is not limited to, internet usage, downloads, files stored, anything displayed on screen, time on the computer, keystrokes, what websites are visited and for how long, words used, emails sent, received and stored, instant messaging and chatting. Your employer can also review deleted emails and files. If you are using a company phone, the employer may also monitor the call, voicemail and text messages.”

 

Stay alert WAH parents. The company that you work for is not legally obligated to inform you that access your webcam to spy on you. However, they’ve worded you HR paperwork that covers their liability if found out. Basically, you’ve agreed to it. You aren’t as in the privacy of your own home as you think. But don’t worry. This isn’t an expensive fix. One box of bandaids and then your employer will be forced to tell you if they are accessing your webcam or not.

 

 

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