The U.S Government Is About To Crackdown On ‘Bossware’ That Allows Them To Spy On Employees


Due to COVID-19, working from home became the norm, and companies started using “bossware,” the pejorative name for the software that tracks everything the employee does, like what websites he visits, screenshots of their computer screens, and even their faces and voices.

The use of “bossware” to closely monitor employees during the workday spiked during the pandemic and through the work-from-home revolution, with 60% of large employers now using the tech in some form, according to Newsweek.

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In October, the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, Robert Scott, asked the Biden administration to investigate employers’ use of bossware for at-home workers. “Employers are embracing technology because it helps them run a more efficient business. What comes with that is monitoring a lot of things that employers have no business doing,” Mark Gaston Pearce, executive director of the Workers’ Rights Institute at Georgetown Law School, told CBS. Pearce highlighted to CBS that spying on employees is already illegal, especially if it is for stunting unionization.

The government’s Labor Inspectorate is trying to crack down on companies’ illegal use of “bossware” and other technology to spy on employees. The National Labor Relations Board acted this week to prevent employers from using software that allows them to closely monitor workers’ activities. Dubbed “bossware,” the agency specifically cited software that randomly takes screenshots of employees’ laptop screens, records their faces and voices, tracks their location, and monitors their texts and calls.

“Close, constant monitoring and management by electronic means threaten the basic ability of workers to exercise their rights,” Jennifer Abruzzo, the labor authority’s chief adviser, wrote in a memo Monday. Abruzzo added that such surveillance is illegal and violates workers’ rights under the National Labor Relations Act.


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