11 Oct Good!
On Monday, LI published the article, “Worker wins webcam privacy suit,” which you can find here: https://www.linkedin.com/news/story/worker-wins-webcam-privacy-suit-5000113/. In the blurb, we read:
“A U.S. software company must pay $72,700 to a remote worker who was fired for refusing to keep his webcam on, a court in the Netherlands has ruled. The Dutch telemarketer had complained to Florida-based Chetu that he was ‘uncomfortable’ being monitored by camera for nine hours a day, adding that the company already tracked his laptop activity and shared his screen. He was then fired for ‘refusal to work’ and ‘insubordination.’ The court ruled that the telemarketer was unfairly dismissed, saying the webcam mandate violated ‘the employee’s right to respect for his private life.'”
But also… drumroll, please… I’m gonna say it:
I’ve said repeatedly in this blog and on my podcast that, if you have ANY employer tech in your home, you had better assume it is being used to monitor you. Periodt. Some areas now require employers to disclose their surveillance methods to you, but a lot don’t. So the onus is on you to protect yourself.
TechCrunch has a more in-depth analysis of this news story:
“‘I don’t feel comfortable being monitored for 9 hours a day by a camera. This is an invasion of my privacy and makes me feel really uncomfortable. That is the reason why my camera is not on,’ the court document quotes the anonymous employee’s communication to Chetu. The employee suggests that the company was already monitoring him, ‘You can already monitor all activities on my laptop and I am sharing my screen.'”
Gross. Just gross. No wonder this person felt like his privacy was being invaded. If someone requires that much monitoring of an employee, WTF?!
“‘Tracking via camera for 8 hours per day is disproportionate and not permitted in the Netherlands,’ the court found in its verdict, and further rams home the point that this monitoring is against the employee’s human rights, quoting from the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms; ‘(…) video surveillance of an employee in the workplace, be it covert or not, must be considered as a considerable intrusion into the employee’s private life (…), and hence [the court] considers that it constitutes an interference within the meaning of Article 8 [Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms].’
Chetu, in turn, was apparently a no-show for the court case.”
Awesome. Watching someone for 8 hours is definitely disproportionate as well as creepy IMO.
Having a clear precedent of a court saying this is not only a bad business practice but a flat-out violation of someone’s human rights is outstanding. Love it.
Now: is this coming to an America near you? Probably not. At least not in any kind of quick fashion because, as I’ve also said many times, I believe we have Crony Capitalism. If we didn’t, the fat cats couldn’t prod the government for sweet taxpayer money and get it. One big club, you and I not in it. I can’t give you advice or tell you what to do. All I can say is that for me, I would not want to be naïve about employer tech inside my house.