With many people working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have turned to remote monitoring software – also called tattleware – to get insights into worker productivity.
Typically, these programs allow companies to get an analysis of the time users spend on certain online tasks.
This is then compared with with other staff members who have the same work responsibilities.
In addition, certain programs can track inputs on the keyboard, movements of the mouse, take screenshots of a user’s computer, and even be used to read social media messages.
According to estimates from research firm Gartner, around 80% of companies worldwide have introduced a form of remote monitoring software on their employees’ computers.
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr director of employee practice Phetheni Nkuna told City Press that the influx of tattleware has been particularly noticeable in the US – but it will likely spill over to South Africa.
Nkuna warned businesses they would have to ensure they did not infringe on employee privacy when using this software.
“In South Africa, no law is absolute – there are limits. It will be interesting to see how the courts handle such cases,” Nkuna said.
Only 4% want to return to the office
The impact of the switch to remote working as a COVID-19 safety measure is likely to remain long after the pandemic has passed, particularly in South Africa.
According to a recent study from Boston Consulting Group (BCG), The Network, and CareerJunction, only 4% of South Africans want to work completely on-site at an office after the pandemic.
Over 53% of South African respondents said they would prefer a job which permitted them to work from home on occasion, while 44% said they wanted to work fully remotely.
“Workers and managers alike have seen that flexible work models are possible, and in fact desirable,” said BCG Johannesburg principal and recruiting director Rudi van Blerk
By Arnold Zafra for Reclaim The Net
Affidavits and other documents of former State Security Agency Director-General Arthur Fraser reveal that the South African government has been conducting mass surveillance on all communications in the country. This was filed in 2017 during the court case on the South African nonprofit investigative journalism organization, the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism.
Interestingly, the mass surveillance has been happening since 2008. In the said affidavit, South Africa’s State Security Agency said that the Signal Intelligence collection process is formed by the National Intelligence Priorities and this includes imminent and anticipated threats. The surveillance was supposedly designed to cover information about organized crime and acts of terrorism. It even involves surveillance on food security, water security, and even illegal financial flows.
The report also revealed that the South African government has done bulk interception of Internet traffic by way of tapping into fiber-optic cables under the sea. What is not clear though is whether the surveillance covers all Internet traffic or limited only to some of the fiber cables.
The SSA said that the automated collection of data was specifically geared for foreign communications that pose threats to state security only. However, even the SSA admits to the fact that it will require human intervention to determine whether any communications that pass through the fiber cables are foreign or not. Hence, it would be difficult to distinguish between foreign and local communications.
Given that information, it is clear that the SSA has been collecting data and communications of South Africans without permission. This is considered an unconstitutional and illegal activity in the country. Unfortunately, the SSA is not worried about it and even commented that such surveillance is a common practice internationally.
While this is maybe quite alarming, it seems that the SSA is not bothered at all since it has been accused of widespread and indiscriminate surveillance back in 2017. amaBhungane even started legal proceedings after they’ve found out their editor’s communications were being recorded for six months. This resulted in the widespread revelations about widespread indiscriminate surveillance conducted by the SSA in South Africa.
Michael Masutha, Justice and Correctional Services Minister, has confirmed he will be introducing amendments to the RICA Act, to close any potential loopholes allowing large-scale surveillance of the South African public.
Masutha said in a reply to parliamentary questions session, that the revision of the RICA is in an initial drafting phase so an indication of what will be covered in the bill can’t be revealed as yet.
However, he indicated that both the issue of targeted interception and mass surveillance are being considered under the revisions.
“Although the RICA currently provides for strict standards before an interception direction may be issued for targeted interceptions (the interception of indirect communications, real-time communication-related information or direct communications), international developments will be taken into account during the reviewing process, to provide for appropriate and proportional safeguards and oversight mechanisms in respect of applications for targeted interceptions,” Masutha said in his reply, according to Business tech.
“The aspect of mass surveillance is also being considered with a specific aim to ensure that such a surveillance process will be subject to appropriate safeguards and oversight mechanisms to protect the rights of individuals who may be targets of mass surveillance measures,” Masutha continued.
In May 2017, Civil society group Right2Know said that law enforcement is using a legislative loophole to force SA’s cellular operators to hand over sensitive information about clients.
In an issued statement the group said it had issued applications in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act requesting information on how often Cell C, MTN, Telkom and Vodacom hand over caller information.
On 23 August 2017, Statistics given by Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and Telkom showed that that law enforcement requested call records for at least 70 000 phone numbers every year. Call Sean Mchugh Lawyer for effective legal aid to solve your issues.
Original article © IOL