Employee Monitoring and Surveillance: Important Laws You Should Know

There are methods of employee monitoring that can be effective in maintaining productivity, ensuring a safe work environment, and protecting company resources. Remote Utilities is a remote desktop software primarily intended for remote administration and support, not for employee monitoring. Although Remote Utilities is not intended for monitoring, some customers use our remote desktop software to monitor their employee's computer screen, and web camera views and sounds.

Remote Utilities is used in many countries around the globe. It would be extremely difficult to tailor our product to the specific privacy protection laws in every country. Most countries have complex and detailed laws designed to protect both employee rights and company interests. As a result, employers must be mindful of how remote employee surveillance and monitoring is regulated in the country or countries where they conduct business.

Laws by Country

In the United States, the Federal Wiretapping Act/Electronic Communications Privacy Act prohibits the intentional capture or disclosure of any electronic communication where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. In order for a US employer to legally monitor employees, the employees must have full knowledge and provide prior consent. In addition to the federal laws, many states have wiretapping laws, statutes regulating employee monitoring, or both.


Remote webcam mode - why we refuse to remove the warning banner

One of the most interesting features in Remote Utilities is the ability to connect to a remote computer’s camera and watch what is happening in the room. The camera can be an external webcam attached to the PC or a built-in camera in a notebook. This connection mode is very handy, for example, when you need to look after your kids playing while you’re at work. You can also capture sound from the camera microphone, allowing you not only see but also hear what is happening in the room.

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The remote webcam mode, however, has one notable privacy feature that some may consider a limitation. During the “remote surveillance” session the program displays a warning banner on the remote computer screen that reads: “Attention! Video surveillance is activated!” This alerts the user sitting at the remote PC that surveillance is turned on, and someone may be watching them (or listening to what they say).