British investment bank Barclays is now undergoing formal investigation over accusations of spying their people.
The large UK-based bank Barclays is under investigation over allegations of spying on their employees. The body to conduct the probe is their country’s privacy protector, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).
Spying on Workers?
The British bank has already admitted last February that it is using a tracking software installed on their staff’s desks to monitor productivity. The application, provided by American firm Sapience Analytics, would see when employees are away from their workstations, causing anxiety among the workforce.
Amid criticisms regarding the system used by Barclays and outcry from staff, the company had already promised it would anonymise the data it collects. A similar concern was voiced out in 2017, when the bank released a similar tracking application called OccupEye.
On Sunday, it was announced by the ICO that a formal investigation on Barclays has already begun. However, the probe is yet to be determined when to conclude, per the Reuters.
According to a spokesperson for the ICO: “People expect that they can keep their personal lives private and that they are also entitled to a degree of privacy in the workplace.”
He added that should organizations “wish to monitor their employees, they should also be clear about its purpose and that it brings real benefits.” What the companies should do is to disclose to their staff the “nature, extent,and reasons for monitoring.”
For ‘Monitoring’ Only
Barclays said they weren’t really spying on their people. “The sensors aren’t monitoring people or their productivity; they are assessing office space usage. This sort of analysis helps us reduce costs, for example, managing energy consumption, or identifying opportunities to further adopt flexible work environments.”
Spying on their workforce isn’t a new issue for the English bank. Even Credit Suisse, a large multinational investment bank from Switzerland, also faced enormous pressure for malicious tracking of data of other employees.
New York Times has commented in an article regarding the spying issue and its relevance during these days of trendy remote work setup. The publication said: “Demand has surged for software that can monitor employees, with programs tracking the words we type, snapping pictures with our computer cameras and giving our managers rankings of who is spending too much time on Facebook and not enough on Excel.”
The Times added: “The technology raises a thorny question about where employers draw the line between maintaining productivity from a homebound work force and creepy surveillance.”