FROM WATCHED AT WORK TO WATCHED AT HOME: WORKPLACE SURVEILLANCE DURING A PANDEMIC
Keywords:workplace surveillance, monitoring, privacy
AbstractThe COVID-19 pandemic has created new opportunities and new tensions related to workplace surveillance. Monitoring workers via digital tools to analyze everything from keystrokes to email and social media to the websites they visit is increasingly common, and the shift to remote work in the early days of the pandemic led many employers to consider new ways to monitor their employees while working from home. In this paper, we consider how the pandemic has affected office workers’ experience of surveillance, focusing on the types of monitoring they currently experience and their concerns related to future forms of surveillance. In particular, we unpack the sociotechnical implications of shifting work surveillance practices due to COVID-19, focusing on how evolving and emergent workplace surveillance practices may impact workers. Using factorial vignettes, survey respondents (N=645) read and responded to 35 scenarios about future workplace surveillance practices. Each scenario randomly varied four factors about workplace monitoring: the type of data being collected, the purpose for data collection, the actors who can access the data, and the transmission principle guiding data collection. For each scenario, respondents assessed both the appropriateness of each scenario and how concerning they found it. We evaluate this data, as well as data about respondents’ work environment before and during the pandemic, using Nissenbaum’s framework of privacy as contextual integrity. We also consider the potential harms associated with different types of monitoring.
How to Cite
Vitak, J., & Zimmer, M. (2021). FROM WATCHED AT WORK TO WATCHED AT HOME: WORKPLACE SURVEILLANCE DURING A PANDEMIC. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2021. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.12259