Microsoft Office 365 tracking features attacked as surveillance – DIGIT.FYI

Microsoft Office 365 tracking features attacked as surveillance – DIGIT.FYI

The rollout of new productivity tracking features across Microsoft’s Office 365 program suite has drawn concerns from privacy activists over workplace surveillance.

The new features allow managers to monitor how and when employees utilise the programs, with workers assigned a score based on their productivity.

Announced in October and introduced this month, the tools offer management monthly searchable reports on each individual employee based on 73 metrics. These include the number of emails sent, number of files read or altered, and the number of Teams meetings attended.

These metrics can also show how often the worker has their camera on during meetings and how many people emails are sent to.

The move has drawn criticism from privacy campaigners, who are saying that the tools offers the means for employers to monitor their workers.

In comments on Linkedin, Label Ventures Co-Founder and Producer Nick Sherrard criticised the tools as an example of workplace surveillance.

“The Surveillance Score means a manager can check data on an individual’s email and chat use, then if they choose they can compare to benchmarks from other organisations (using this new data Microsoft is earning),” he said.

“This is management as surveillance as-a-service.”

Data privacy researcher at Cracked Labs Wolfie Christl warned that using the tools may break laws in some European jurisdictions.

“Showing data on individuals can be turned off, but it’s activated *by default*. This normalizes extensive workplace surveillance in a way not seen before. I
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