Online eavesdropping and surveillance isn’t just a nasty habit of the US Government – it’s a common practice among private employers these days too.
Many employees are under the mistaken belief that the Constitution protects them from anyone’s acts that violate their civil rights. Not true. It’s supposed to just protect you from government spying (though one could argue that right now it’s not doing a very good job even of that, as ongoing revelations about spying on world leaders continue to make headlines).
Although we do have some protection under statutes at the federal and state level against employer intrusions into privacy, they’re pretty limited. It’s a common practice among employers of all sizes to gather ongoing intelligence about employees in workplace situations, in the name of security or measuring productivity. Here are just a few examples.
The bottom line is that employers have great latitude in the ways and means they can choose from in monitoring the activities of employees while on the job and off. But some old school privacy protections do still exist. For example, an employer still can’t ask your age in a job interview, though they might guess it from looking at those pictures of you playing beer pong in a bikini.
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