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Big Brother In the Home Office 298

Posted by timothy
from the where-the-raspberry-pi-comes-in dept.
hessian writes with this excerpt from the New York Times' "Bits" column: "Tens of thousands of programmers, writers, accountants and other workers labor at home doing contract work for companies like Google, Hewlett-Packard and NBC. The computers they use contain software that takes snapshots of what they are doing six times an hour. The snooping occurs randomly, making it impossible for the computer user to game the system. It is probably more invasive than what happens to those working in offices, where scooting through Facebook entries, shopping on Cyber Monday, and peeping at N.S.F.W. ('Not Safe for Work') Web sites on corporate computers is both normal and rarely observed by managers."
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Big Brother In the Home Office

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  • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 08, 2011 @02:06PM (#38305428)

    Use another PC for private stuff!

    • by Synerg1y (2169962)

      Or dual boot???

      In my case since I run an older SSD and space is limited, I'd boot my dev partition off a spinning disk.

      • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

        by buddyglass (925859) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @03:19PM (#38306398)
        If you dual boot the machine with the big brother software, booting into an alternate OS would make it seem to your employer as if you had the system powered down, i.e. you're not doing work.

        Best solution is to keep another machine right next to your work one. Leave the work one on, with "work stuff" on the screen, and periodically permute it to give the appearance of actually doing something. Unless they're also monitoring the frequency and volume of keystrokes (and mouse movements) then you should be alright.

        I'd also be curious to know how this software handles virtual screens, e.g. "Spaces" in OS X. If it only takes snapshots of the primary "space" then just put all your non-work stuff in a different space.
        • by Synerg1y (2169962)

          They work via the windows print screen command and a timer more or less. They aren't really used for anything else because nobody consents to such software willingly. If your looking to slack off work and do something else while on the clock ya you may need a second computer, since something like a vm wouldn't defeat a screen shot grabber. Otherwise if your just ensuring your employer can't snoop on you in off hours or on lunch breaks, dual booting solves that problem easy.

    • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AdrianKemp (1988748) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @02:37PM (#38305878)

      I am assuming that any company so paranoid that they're logging everything the employee is doing would be equally as batshit crazy about unexplained lulls in activity.

      I'm very suspicious about the "cannot be gamed" thing... it's software, ffs.

      • Re:So... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anrego (830717) * on Thursday December 08, 2011 @02:44PM (#38305966)

        Probably a better way would be "cannot be gamed without substantial risk of getting fired".

        I really don’t get the need for this stuff, especially for programmers. I mean maybe in some jobs it makes sense, but as a programmer I know if I start slacking off it’s going to be pretty damn apparent when my stuff isn’t getting done or is of poor quality.

        Not to say metrics should be blindly used to gauge productivity, but any manager worth his weight in pepper packets is going to have a rough idea of how long stuff should be taking and is going to be aware of the quality of the work.

        If I was in the situation (assuming for some reason I didn’t just quit and find a company that doesn’t treat me like an assembly line worker) I’d probably just have my work PC separate and do any goofing off on a separate (unmonitored) computer as others have suggested. Maybe flip up a document or something that would be reasonable to show no activity for a few minutes.

        • Re:So... (Score:5, Funny)

          by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @03:22PM (#38306430) Homepage

          The network guys need it because they cant see it on their own.

          Last place I worked I turned in a fellow programmer for downloading nasty snuff porn at work. The morons in the NOC could never catch it but little ol me after inserting a 20 year old 10 base T hub in line with our outbound router and then plugging in the bosses second ethernet line into it so I could run etherape and other tools in there was able to deliver proof in 20 minutes. the linux tool that displays images that are being sent around on the network made the Ops manager crap himself right there in his chair.

          Yet the experts in the NOC and Network operations told the higher ups that they cant do what I was showing them. A skilled person can easily set up network side tools to discover and log things without resorting to amateur hour apps on the desktop.

          • Re:So... (Score:5, Funny)

            by pmc (40532) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @04:08PM (#38307056) Homepage

            Tell me - would you turn in a fellow programmer for, to pick an example at random, making unapproved changes to a production network, such as adding an old hub to a network?

    • So with key counter and mouse movement tracking software, or a random webcam snapshop. They cannot prove you are goofing off, but they can prove you are not really working.
      • they can prove you are not really working.

        That is what this is really about. They want to be able to reduce management overhead by having people work from home while still allowing someone to look in on everyone to make sure everyone is working.

    • You are at work... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @02:42PM (#38305946)
      If you are suppose to be working, you are getting paid to work, why do you spend so much time and effort to find ways around not working.
      Let me guess this is also the same group of people who complain when they don't get promoted or are the first to get layoffs.
      • by preaction (1526109) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @03:00PM (#38306158)

        Part of my job is knowing how to program efficiently and effectively. This involves perusing websites, twitter feeds, wikipedia, personal blogs, news sites and other easily-misinterpreted content. I should not have to justify every single web request I make. I should not have to ask, before each decision to click a link, "Is this good for the Company?".

        • The problem is that I am not being "supervised" to the level that I am being checked multiple times per hour. I am fortunate that I work for a company that evaluates me on my results and compares me to others for ranking and frankly doesn't care how I achieve those results as long as it is ethical/legal. This means, that if I want to browse Slashdot all day long and then work at night-- not a problem. This invasive supervision also creates an environment where the smart people will find a job elsewhere and

      • by noldrin (635339)
        If you read the story, this is not being at work, this is about doing outside contract work from home, and the screenshots are just one of the metrics used to justify pay for billed hours, keystrokes is another. The point in using another computer is to avoid being deducted 10 minutes worth of pay for a non-work related screen shot for perhaps what may be a 1 minute Skype break. The Skype break would only effect the key log rate instead.
    • Re:So... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Thursday December 08, 2011 @03:16PM (#38306358) Homepage Journal

      Use another PC for private stuff!

      It's not just about making sure you're doing nothing private, but also to make sure you didn't take a half-hour to have a cup of coffee or take your hand off your keyboard to think about the best way to solve a problem.

      Is it finally sinking in that corporations really don't care about your well-being, or even about what's best for the company, only profits are important? And if achieving another .2% of profits this quarter requires you to have a 50% worse quality of life, they're going to throw you under the bus every time.

      Problem is, there is absolutely no "free market" solution to this. There is no "free market" solution to your declining real income and your diminishing quality of life. They are thrilled with high unemployment because that means the workers are too scared to do anything but bow their heads and take it.

      Today I read an article in Bloomberg about how so many working and middle class people aren't doing quite as badly as we thought because they're taking second jobs for cash and more mothers and kids are working to pick up a little extra cash so they can survive month to month. And the article said that this was all a good thing. No mention of the corrosive social effect of people with two full-time jobs sleeping a lot less, or more kids not having any parents at home until late into the evening. No mention of the fact that the second jobs tend to be at or below the minimum wage. No mention of health care costs increasing because of additional stress.

      There was actually a quote about how working 16 hour days for $8 bucks and hour is just as good as working 8 hours a day for $16/hr. They pointed out that the diminishing place of organized labor has made these wonderful "productivity innovations" possible.

      Sometimes I have trouble believing how quickly we went from being a nation where people commonly believed that their children would have better lives to a nation where there is certainty that our children will have worse lives. In my lifetime we have gone from a country where the working and middle classes believed that if they just worked hard and took care of their families that they would have a few good years of retirement to enjoy, to a country where everybody knows that the 401k is only going to hold us for a year or two, and then...well then we just don't know (and that's if you could afford to put away money for that 401k). When all those 401k babies start to retire and they realize there's no where near enough money to live there is going to be social displacement like we've never seen.

      We have become a feudal oligarchy where it's considered a great thing that a skilled worker - a professional - can be monitored every ten minutes to make sure they don't get up to go to the bathroom or change their toddler's diaper. This is "thinking outside the box". These are "innovative management tools".

      By the way, when Hewlett Packard (one of the companies using this 10 minute monitoring system) fired their former CEO Leo Apotheker for not really doing that great of a job, they made sure his transition was eased by $7 million cash and $18 million in stock. This is the CEO that they fired while telling their workers that they all have to tighten their belts. Oh, and they structured the "firing" so that Mr Apotheker could file for unemployment.

      • Re:So... (Score:5, Funny)

        by lexsird (1208192) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @06:26PM (#38309010)

        Sweet Jesus I feel your pain in this post. I seen a quote yesterday that made me think and laugh at the same time. It went something like this. "In the 80s Capitalism defeated Communism. In the 90s Capitalism defeated Democracy." I chuckled at the truth of it.

        You are right, there is no "free market" solution, the rich will only get richer and the poor, poorer until there is only two classes at their extremes. The "slash n burn" system of capitalism has trashed this nation and everyone connected to it. We need to revive industrial capitalism and start playing as Team USA. Multinational interests have too much power in our country that compete with our best interests.

        It all rests in Washington and the ability to legally bribe politicians. It is the ONE subject you will not hear any damn one of them talk about with any depth or conviction. It's a big fat trough of money and if you get there, you are setting high on the hog. The little people's interests get crushed under these big wheels.

        These dumb fuckers forget that their entire nation is build on the little people. If you choke them down and out, you eventually choke yourself down and out as well. But greed and the nanosecond fast computer age, with lightning fast trades has made Wall Street just another Vegas. Wall Street was for long term investments and long term existence. People made a sturdy, dependable system that was solid and provided well for everyone. But the smart kids learned that the easy money was in financial mathematics. If you think engineering physics formulas are convoluted sometimes, you don't want to dabble in the math of finance.

        This is where it gets interesting. Factor this: On an average day with all things being equal; the bad guys can sometimes get one over on Regulators. Now lets tweak this formula. Let's diminish the Regulators and boost the bad guys. What do you think the probable outcome that will result from that will be? Take an educated guess if you will.

        I know, it's easy to spot, and it's low hanging fruit if you are solving our problems. There is a more serious problem that we have to deal with. This problem needs solved if magically we solved our corrupted financial system. I am referring to our broken trade policies. Our trade negotiations aren't just weak, they are criminally negligent with an ill bent towards the United States. The world has discovered they can just buy our politicians like the corporations can and we allow ourselves to get BURNED in trade deals.

        We need a "Mirror Policy" with the world. If we can't sell it to you, then you can't sell it to us. It's simplistic as hell, and would be damn effective and fair. I wish one side would wake up and capitalize on it. They can have it, they can take credit for it. It's theirs, just do it so that we can get back on track.

        Lastly we need fewer politicians and more representatives. We need people who are beyond approach to step up and take the wheel. Are you telling me, these nasty things we have in office are the best we can do? I can throw a rock out my window and hit better people than what's "representing" us in Washington these days.

        I wish some slash dot contributors and commentators would run for office. There are some damn intelligent people that frequent these pages, this is why I come here and wade through the retards, is for some great gems, some really bright minds come here. Why the fuck aren't some of you running for office?? Yes you could do it, it's not just a dream. Far, far worse people in life have climbed high in political office. We need damn thinkers, intelligent people capable of dealing with the ever shifting playing field of advancing technology. The world is moving at the speed of light these days and you can't be fucking around or it will run you over.

        'nuff said.

    • Exactly right! My company-supplied computer is all Microsoft, all legit work; when I take a break for a few minutes (like right now, to check Slashdot) I switch keyboards and switch my monitor to the Linux box next to my desk, and do all my personal work on my personal computer.

      Dual-boot wouldn't work so well because it would show me offline every time I take a break, and it would lose several minutes of getting my desktop back every time I reboot. Most of my breaks I take while I'm waiting for some oth

    • by tsa (15680)

      Nonsense. A bit of tape over the camera does wonders. If my boss spies on me I'm very sure I don't want to work for him anyway.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 08, 2011 @02:06PM (#38305432)

    What about the other (personnal) computer next to the work computer ?

    • by hedwards (940851)

      That was my thought, I have a desktop and a laptop on my desk. Unless of course they come over to the employees house randomly to make sure that there aren't any unapproved of computing devices, in which case I'd be more concerned with that.

      • It wouldn't work because of two words after the colon: work progress.

        It's not that a worker wouldn't be allowed to get up and grab a snack or defecate, but you'd be able to target your inefficient workers pretty easily with something like this. Now the way to game the system would be to set up voice recognition on the work computer, and text to speech on your personal computer, and then point it at something work related to be typed... :)

        • by icebike (68054)

          Work progress has nothing to do with what else is on your screen and gets snap-shotted.

          The best programmers write less code than the worst, and make the most progress in the least amount
          of time.

          If I take 5 minutes to check my portfolio, does that entitle them to look over my shoulder at my account, holdings, etc?
          If I happen to email my lawyer are they allowed to screen shot this? The potential for abuse is staggering.

          Nothing in the article says the computers upon which this is installed belong to the comp

    • by peragrin (659227)

      KISS just use a tablet.

      I take my nook color into work, the wifi bypass's the coporate firewall (and everything inside of it). I use it to read news, books, slashdot(posting this on it) . There is no logging as it techically sits outside the network even though it uses the same cable modem. Since we went this route the number of employees browsing NSFW or websites like facebook has dropped drastically.

  • Webcams too (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheSpoom (715771) <slashdot@@@uberm00...net> on Thursday December 08, 2011 @02:08PM (#38305450) Homepage Journal

    I know at least one freelancing website that also allows employers to require a feed of the contractor's webcam.

    • by mr1911 (1942298) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @02:14PM (#38305538)
      That's fine. If they enjoy looking at the sticky side of black tape that much, I will happily send them a framed print.
      • by TheSpoom (715771)

        And you wouldn't get paid, so I guess it would be about even.

        • I would. Because I would not be working via that freelancing website. You want a job done, I will do it. You want to watch me do it? rate goes up x10.

          I think housing contractors have a similar fee structure.

          • For a 10x rate increase I'd let the disturbed employer watch me code their project. It would be pretty boring, but they asked to look at my mug, not be entertained. Their money. Also if I decide to take a break the only difference is that I have to keep a straight face if I read anything funny.

          • Which is fine by them because then they will get someone else who will be willing to do it while watching for cheaper.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by TooMuchToDo (882796)

          I'd still get paid chief; if I'm smart enough to be writing code, I'm smart enough to hook into the webcam driver and provide my own feed (boring coder loop for the win!).

          • by edmicman (830206)

            Hah I envision a feed like in the movie Speed. Look! His hand jumped back across the keyboard suddenly!

      • Re:Webcams too (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Machtyn (759119) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @04:50PM (#38307722) Homepage Journal
        I'm sure several 4 hour loop streams can be utilized fairly effectively.
    • by TWX (665546)

      Point the webcam away when not using it, or unplug it?

      I don't see how this kind of monitoring amounts to anything on company-provided equipment used in a work-from-home setting, or honestly, even in user-supplied equipment in a work-from-home setting. As numerous others have said, this can be defeated in the former with using one's own computer for not-work-appropriate activities, and if using one's own computer (and only computer), using virtualization to create a computer-within-computer for the work stu

      • by Synerg1y (2169962) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @02:23PM (#38305672)

        It is clearly an invitation to work in the nude.

        • You've not had much experience with HR have you? It'd work for the first day, after which you'd have just been responsible for implementing business formal dress code for every teleworking employee the company has. After a year, everyone would be happy with the company when they were allowed to take the suit jackets off and just keep the ties and shirt (presumably pants, but unless it's a full field web cam in another part of the room...).
    • by iggymanz (596061)

      that would be funny, if any place I ever contracted for would ask for feed to my webcam. I don't have one, and I would not let them attach one. if they stopped the contract, so be it, but my skills are very rare.

    • Re:Webcams too (Score:4, Insightful)

      by tomhudson (43916) <.barbara.hudson. ... bara-hudson.com.> on Thursday December 08, 2011 @02:16PM (#38305584) Journal
      Nobody's forcing people to use these sites - and it's in your best long-term interest to boycott them and their race to the bottom.

      Sites like odesk and elance are the quickest way to devalue yourself, your work, and your future.

      • Avoid them... or use them to set up a massive confidence game. Oooo that is a book just waiting to be written!

      • by forkfail (228161)

        Sad thing is, I'm willing to be it'll become pretty much standard eventually.

  • Because I don't have another computer at home.
  • Can't be gamed? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Jeff Hornby (211519) <{ac.ocitapmys} {ta} {ybnrohtj}> on Thursday December 08, 2011 @02:09PM (#38305466) Homepage

    And here on my other computer ... anything that I want

    • by mr1911 (1942298)
      Yeah, but while you are updating your Facebook status and reading Slashdot on your personal PC there is no activity on your work PC.
      • So move the mouse every five minutes, or pretend to be reading a very long document and just scroll a bunch downward. That's still a fair amount of wiggle room!
    • Ding! What IT professional wouldn't have their own PC sitting right next to it for the occasional mental break, personal email, etc?

  • by Securityemo (1407943) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @02:09PM (#38305478) Journal
    and all people involved are okay with it, I guess it's okay. But why would they spend resources on this in the first place? They pay for something to be done within a certain timeframe, and if they don't it's just a breach of contract right? Why would they care about the details?
  • So what is to stop the people from using two PC's? Or more likely, turn the TV on while they work?

    This software seems in-effective to me.

    • That is why they also monitor keyboard and mouse activity.

      Of course that can be faked / simulated as well. A dedicated programmer will always be able to out-program such systems but at a certain point it becomes work to avoid surveillance than to just do the job at hand.

  • You don't even need another computer--just run your work machine as a VM.
  • by msobkow (48369) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @02:12PM (#38305520) Homepage Journal

    I don't understand why anyone would tolerate this. I've done remote work for decades, since long before the internet made it possible to access client's source repositories or documentation sites as you can now. I've never had my billable hours questioned, and have always delivered quality software in the end.

    I'd be so insulted to have a client even suggest such an intrusive back-handed accusation that I'm ripping them off that I would immediately leave the negotiating table with a pair of digits waved on high as I headed out the door.

    • Just ask to be able to log into their bank's website and examine their cash balance six times a day, at random times. Gotta make sure the paycheck won't bounce.
    • At least they're being honest about it.

      My PHB decided that all underlings are to have MS Office Communicator running at all times. I know damn well there are easy tools to gather metrics on how long you're logged in and how long the screen saver is active. It's a cubicle farm. We don't need IM for any other reason.
  • by dreemernj (859414) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @02:13PM (#38305532) Homepage Journal
    In this case, Big Brother is invited. The monitoring software they describe seems perfectly acceptable to me. If I was vying for a freelance position where I work at home and the condition was my work would be periodically checked, I would be fine with it. As long as all the expectations and the ways the data would be collected are presented up front, it seems completely reasonable.

    And having different standards in this case makes sense. This isn't monitoring full-time employees that you've rigorously hired and who will be reviewed by HR regularly and that have a real stake in keeping the position. This is for freelance, hourly workers that could be located anywhere in the world.
    • In every case, Big Brother is invited

      Protect us from those dangerous people! Please put in surveillance equipment! Please rig the phone system for panopticon-style wiretapping!

  • Two computers? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @02:13PM (#38305534)

    Isn't the fatal flaw in their product the fact that a home worker might actually have *two* computers? While he moves the mouse around on the work computer and looks like he's reading a technical manual, on his other computer he's surfing porn and building a website for his company's competitor?

    Or he could just run the work computer as a virtual machine and surf porn on the host instance.

    And there's the security risk - what if someone hacks the ODesk interface, so the screenshots from your home worker entering medical data get published to the web, resulting in a big HIPAA violation fine (or they store those screenshots on an offshore server, and extort you into paying them to not publish them).

    Aren't there better ways to measure home worker productivity without introducing a large potential security hole with a product that is easily circumvented? Maybe managers should actually *manage* instead of relying on technology to do it for them?

  • by Jawnn (445279) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @02:17PM (#38305598)
    ...you're doing it wrong. Lines of code, keystrokes per hour, etc. are almost universally shitty metrics. Your teleworkers are hired to do a job. Take the time to figure out how to effectively measure that, and then realize that intrusive steps like those in TFA are worse than useless.
    • by Roogna (9643)

      Exactly. It's also surprisingly easy to measure performance. For instance, I own my own company, we do our own software as well as contracts for outside firms. In both cases we do design, set milestones with expected completion dates, and performance is easy to judge. We're either meeting our milestones or we aren't. If we aren't, we can always pinpoint the exact feature that's holding a milestone up.

    • 500 lines of error filled code vs 100 clean lines? I'll take the clean lines tyvm.

    • by Kjella (173770)

      There will be other things to measure performance. But one issue with teleworkers is making sure that they've actually worked the hours they say they worked. You don't get to pad the bill or double bill clients, the only thing we've made sure of is that if we paid you for 8 hours we wasted 8 hours of your life. Turns out shirking isn't so much fun if you must constantly babysit your machine to not get caught. And not just in the "wiggle the mouse and type some garbage into notepad" sense, but actually fake

  • They'd get nothing but a time-lapse of a large blue SorceForge logo surrounded by a few changing stories and articles.
  • But the employer has a right to know he is not flushing money down the toilet in paying you not to work and stealing his time away.

    He owns the equipment and has a right to do whatever he wants with it.

    Suck it up or dont work. If you were paying out of pocket your opinion would change drastically. It is no different than a work pc anyway.

    • by bhlowe (1803290)
      This is just another way to let fewer people manage more workers.. and we're all for automation and work-place efficiencies? Right?

      I hire on odesk and never look at the screen captured images.. But if the employee is not producing, I might want to know what's up. It may also curb some on the clock facebooking. All a worker has to do is hit the pause work button and he can surf and watch NSFW content as much as he wants.

      The real issue is that wages for all computer users are getting driven down to 3rd-w

    • by tomhudson (43916)

      He owns the equipment and has a right to do whatever he wants with it.

      No, the employer doesn't own either the equipment OR the bandwidth being used. This is about those cheap no-frills freelance sites, where you're competing with hourly workers from the 3rd world.

  • by ad454 (325846) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @02:26PM (#38305700)

    Here is a trick that I used. I received a company issued Dell laptop with Windows. I installed converted it into a VM (Virtual Machine) image with VMware converter tool, and then installed that VM on my Mac.

    Whenever I need to do corporate stuff I do it in the VM, and all of the personal stuff I do on my Mac host machine. (This trick works for Linux hosts as well.)

    Any spyware on my VM does not obtain any information about my personal activity in the host OS.

    • The spyware can probably check the virtualized machine's "hardware" and report the fact that the environment has been virtualized. This might give rise to suspicions.

  • by Compaqt (1758360) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @02:28PM (#38305752) Homepage

    OK, I don't know exactly how old ODesk is, but, basically, it's been doing this forever.

    The client gets a view to into the desktop of the sweatoffice worker.

    I thought most Slashdotter knew about the top 2-3 outsourcing marketplaces (Elance, ODesk, Rentacoder) just as a matter of general knowledge.

  • Not necessarily. Our company uses a system that takes snapshots several times a minute. It's never used except when there's already a problem with an employee. It is then used to document the actions of that employee, in order to provide legal cover once they are fired.

    Different companies have different notions of how much, and how, to police the work that is done by employees and contractors. Some are better than others, but it's their money to safeguard. This does not seem like a problem to me. P
    • Your company is just looking for a reason to fire anyone on their terms.

      It is completely fine to play some game that comes pre-installed with the PC, if you are waiting for an important reply, or an action to be taken.

      Of course you could instead write some document in the meantime, with a probablity of 10% that anybody but you ever reads it.

  • Several commentators have mentioned that you might have a second computer nearby for the non-work stuff. But, what happens when you've programmed that computer to do your job for you? Is it still ethical to charge by the hour, when a computer is doing most of the work?

    Taken a step further. A contracting firm is charging a client for 1000 heads, but there's only 100 real heads and 900 virtual people doing the work. As long as the quotas are being filled, is there a problem? (Side question. If you
  • It's fine and fair if:

    • There is full disclosure and consent
    • The computer in question with the monitoring software is property of the company

    The employer lays out the terms, you accept the job or you don't, and once accepted then you and the employer do what you said you would do. If you bill per hour instead of per project, then every hour you bill has to be productive; that time belongs to the employer. They have a right to know whether they are being told the truth about how those hours they bought are be

  • I am reading this as I watch the movie Mad Max. This is kind of bitterly ironic because it is a sign of bad things to come! I am waiting for the apocalypse believers to come out of the wood work. This website is basically soliciting work at wages so ridiculously low it is sad. The wealthy 1% own everything and have left the remaining the 99% to fight for the scraps. This website is evident of it!
  • This is being done because of incompetent management, plain and simple. They figure gathering a bunch of metrics on an employee is good management. It's not good management.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @03:10PM (#38306300) Journal
    Ya-Ha-Ha Ho Ho Ho
    Shipped your job to Mexico
    But we got plans for all of you to re-train

    Pit the whole world against each other
    For who will work for the lowest wage
    The rest of you can die
    As epidemics rage

    Worked hard all your life
    Now you must go on line
    And stare all day
    At a little plastic screen

    Electronic plantation
    Electronic plantation

    Same old job
    Now you're just a temp
    Less pay, no benefits
    No raise, no vacation
    Or sick leave days

    Chain the slaves to the oars
    Faster, faster, row some more!
    In carpel tunnel caverns
    Til you break

    We monitor you all
    Every time you leave your chair
    Or talk on the phone
    One minute overtime
    At the toilet
    And you're fired

    Electronic plantation
    Electronic plantation

    Only use we've left for you
    Is burn you at both ends
    Locked in the research triangle
    Shirtwaist fire's flames
    Lot's of people need your job
    And you can be replaced
    Replaced.

    Replaced.

    Unemployed and overqualified
  • by onyxruby (118189) <onyxrubyNO@SPAMcomcast.net> on Thursday December 08, 2011 @03:11PM (#38306304)

    Set up your home computer with a second monitor and a VM. Use the VM to work remotely. That way your work computer is always squeaky clean and your privacy is assured.

    I've worked remotely before and this worked quite well. That being said, having worked remotely for an extended period of time I can safely say that I worked /more/ when I didn't have to go into the office than when I did.

  • by RandCraw (1047302) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @03:16PM (#38306356)

    If you're logged into a remote computer where you're doing your work, only that login session will be visible, not the activity or the amount of activity.

    Likewise, if you're running an app remotely (or on an app server or in a cloud), only the connection will register.

    Or if you have a web browser up, the site you're visiting won't be visible. You could be browsing for work or for play; you couldn't tell

    If the monitor software captured an image snapshot of the display, which would certainly acquire more info, then you could easily circumvent it by running your naughty app on a non-primary screen, because the activity monitor won't capture the activity on all three of your display monitors.

    No doubt this technology sounds attractive to managers, but I doubt it'll be effective when monitoring developers or power users.

  • by Kaenneth (82978) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @04:11PM (#38307112) Homepage Journal

    This will all end very suddenly the moment the Managers realize that this means their own jobs can be outsourced, offshored, and their job made 'redundant'.

    Why pay a middle manager full US wages when you can have it done half as well for a quarter of the cost?

  • by Thud457 (234763) on Thursday December 08, 2011 @04:34PM (#38307492) Homepage Journal
    my first though was "naturally Big Brother is in the Home Office [wikipedia.org], where else would he be"?

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