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I have worked as a junior help desk sys admin, and in those days the only option for "monitoring" what other people was doing was by "shadowing" their screen , like windows remote desktop, RDP.

Now I'm working as a mobile developer[iOS Android], and in the contract I saw a clause, where I accept to be monitored.

So my question is what software is out there to monitor silently [with out the developer (me) knowing]. Would they see my screen?, or take snapshots?

It's not that I waste time or do "illegal" activities, I'm just wondering if this is normal? and how to notice it?

I'm using a Mac - if that makes any difference.

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closed as off topic by Kramii, user281377, Robert Harvey, Yannis Rizos Apr 19 '12 at 20:35

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How can it be spying if you have agreed to it in your contract? –  user1249 Apr 19 '12 at 7:17
@ThorbjørnRavnAndersen - +1 for truth. –  Anonymous Apr 19 '12 at 8:06
Is this really a question specific to programmers? –  Kramii Apr 19 '12 at 12:28
Read before you sign ;) –  pap Apr 19 '12 at 12:46
If you connect to their network then they can monitor all access to their network. If you use a remote desktop they can record every action you do. You have not given us enough to answer you how it might effect you. I assume by "mobile" you mean you work from home and/or on the road. –  Ramhound Apr 19 '12 at 15:49

5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Monitoring can be performed on:

  • internet accesses: automatic and realtime (the system can prevent you from accessing forbidden sites or log all your internet history, or log only access to controversial sites)

  • installed software: automatic, periodical (once a night or once a week, corporate policies may forbid some categories of softwares such as network spies or multimedia download/stream)

  • browser cache, mailboxes, or whole filesystem contents: manual, on request (if your boss suspects that you store evidence of unappropriate behaviour)

Whether all of that is legal or morally acceptable in a corporate environment is a question too wide and subjective to be answered here.

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Monitoring may mean a lot of things, probably it just means that someone will keep an eye on your performance. Do you deliver on time? Is the quality of your work what can be expected? etc. If on the other hand it really means surveillance, like you indicate, there's only one answer to that: Don't accept the contract and go find yourself another employer.

And if it's not clear from the contract what they mean, ask them.

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There are several ways :

  • monitoring your behavior using installed cameras
  • monitoring your performance
  • monitoring your internet access
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There are lots of software packages your employer could purchase and use. These apps can capture keystrokes and periodic screen shots (or realtime monitoring). Google "computer spy software". These apps are designed to be not detected. If you knew the specific app they utilize, you might stand a chance at confirming if it is there by installing the demo at home and/or reading the documentation.

I worked at one place I could have sworn something like this was being used. One of many incidents: I actually had an OCD/paranoid boss walk right out of his office directly to me and asked me what is it I just did the last 5 minutes. I wasn't slacking off or anything; he actually wanted to know what it is I was doing. Back then, I was using enterprise manager (sql server tool) to set up and manipulate my database. I don't think he had ever seen that before. The boss was the worst I have ever had in my career to this day. He was hated by almost everyone who worked for him. Three of us were "let go" for various reasons on the same day shortly after what we suspected was a little conversing about how much he was bothering us while using windows messenger. This guy even had journalism set up in Exchange and he had every single email message sent or received forwarded to him. No one used email in that organization except to talk to him. It was a very strange environment.

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So my question is what software is out there to monitor silently [with out the developer (me) knowing]. Would they see my screen?, or take snapshots?

My company has stuff like this. Basically it is like RDP but the user doesn't even know that IT is there. It isn't as clear as if using Remote Desktop but it does the job.

Another option is to screen capture every x amount of seconds and save the image to a network drive (or some folder in your hard drive). This doesn't provide real time eavesdropping (for lack of a better word) but depending on the interval, it would allow for repeat offenders to be caught. You could even go as far as installing a keylogger and capturing all input. I'm not sure the legal ramifications of doing that (since it is company time, computer and they set rules on how you can use them) but it is an option. Like others have mentioned, you could also monitor internet traffic as well.

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