‘Mouse Movers’ Used to Evade Employer Surveillance

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer January 24, 2022
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​The market for "mouse movers," used by at-home workers to circumvent their employers' efforts to monitor them by simulating the movement of a computer mouse even when the computer isn't being used, has exploded since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We've rounded up articles from SHRM Online and other outlets to provide more context on the news.

Mouse Movers Go Viral  

The revolt against employers' spyware has resulted in the spread of DIY hacks across social media and an increase in plug-and-play devices for sale, including USB sticks that come preloaded with software that mimics mouse movements.

(Vice)

Business Is Booming

While these devices might not be able to circumvent keystroke tracking or facial recognition programs, mouse mover sales have grown exponentially over the course of the pandemic, and demand is still up even as more people are returning to their offices, according to several vendors.

(Slate)

Monitoring Remote Workers: Benefits vs. Risks

More employees are working from home, and more employers are keeping an eye on them through the use of remote monitoring technologies. These tools perform multiple tasks, such as tracking keystrokes and measuring employees' active and idle time in key applications and websites. But tracking tools aren't without risks. Workplace monitoring is subject to a variety of federal and state laws regarding when employees have a right to privacy and if and when they must be notified that they're being monitored.

(SHRM Online)

Experts Debate the Issue

On the one hand, monitoring employees working at home can increase productivity and improve data security. On the other, monitoring indicates a lack of trust and leads to employee disengagement and other negative behaviors.

(HR Magazine)

Managing Workplace Monitoring and Surveillance

This resource covers the practical and legal implications of managing and balancing the legitimate needs of an organization to protect its assets and safeguard the workplace with the reasonable expectations of privacy held by its employees. The guide focuses on the legal and employee relations consequences of workplace monitoring and concludes with recommendations for establishing a companywide policy for employees.

(SHRM Toolkit)

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