Employee surveillance | Sky workers 'unhappy' over all-day workplace filming

Sky workers 'unhappy' over all-day workplace filming

Sky News employees have reacted with shock to an announcement that their office is to be streamed live on a dedicated TV channel and online – TV Newser reports.

BuzzFeed UK Media and Politics Reporter Mark Di Stefano tweeted that Sky News employees were told yesterday that 32 cameras and microphones are being installed all around their newsrooms to catch their every move.

Allegedly some employees are unhappy about the decision.

Employee surveillance has long been a hot topic in HR, with employers regularly looking for ways to monitor the productivity of their employees. Last year, it was reported that internet shopping giant Amazon has patented goggles that allow them to spy on workers’ every move, according to a report in the Mirror.

The patent, filed in the US, says the goggles can track “orientation and accelerometer data,” which might mean things like walking speed and the exact location of the wearer. They will also provide employees with directions to the next item they will need to find, like a sat nav.

And, in 2017, the Independent reported that staff at Barclays were surprised to discover sensors in their London offices which tracked how long employees are at their desks.

Research from Alfresco found that most employers carry out some form of surveillance, with 98% of companies reporting that they monitor their employees’ digital activity – with 11% admitting that employees would be “horrified” by the amount of digital activity their companies captured.

But is this legal? According to advice from the Article 29 Working Party - an advisory body made up of a representative from the data protection authority of each EU Member State, the European Data Protection Supervisor and the European Commission – employees should be informed of any monitoring, its purposes and circumstances, and the level and areas of control that employees have over their data.

The ICO code also lays out what employers can and can’t do with this data. They advise employers to “only use information obtained through monitoring for the purpose for which the monitoring was carried out”.

Whilst Sky employees will only be monitored for the day, it does throw up several serious HR questions, including: should you monitor employees? Tell us in the comments...

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