William Perugini/ShutterstockSure, you got to the office this morning with every intention of getting started on those upcoming projects and deadlines. But now that you’re here, you have fallen—once again—into that bottomless Internet hole, and now there’s no climbing out.
Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. (Here’s how to be more productive in your first hour of work.) But you might want to start being a bit more careful about your online browsing habits at work, because your employer can track all of it. Yep, that goes for anything on your office computer, the company’s wifi connection, and company-provided cell phones. And not only can your employer monitor your work email and projects, but they can also log every single click, even on “private” sites like Facebook or your personal email account.
“If you use your email on a company-owned device or even the office wifi network, you should have no expectation of privacy,” Paul Bischoff, privacy advocate at Comparitech.com, told TIME. Some will even ask you to sign a waiver confirming that the company can access your email.
Paranoid yet? Still, if you’ve been scrolling through Facebook during office hours, you can breathe easy. Although companies can monitor you, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will.
“We can do this but we haven’t done it yet,” Amna Rizvi, the editor of GadgTecs.com, said. “I suspect large companies do keep a record, but might not look at the logs unless a legal issue comes up.”
In fact, most of the monitoring/information interception done on your company network is for security purposes. Firms want to keep tabs on their employees’ activity online, just in case any viruses or hackers manage to tap into the company’s network, TIME reports. (By the way, your privacy could be at risk if you have an account with one of these online companies.)
“There could be some Intellectual Property issues and other confidential information that the company wants to control,” said Michael Edelberg, co-founder of Viable Operations/Bespoke Digital Solutions, a cybersecurity firm. “Rogue cloud accounts and emails are a vector for hackers as is your social media…you might be opening a threat vector that wants access into your company.”
Looks like you’re in the clear for now. But don’t relax just yet; there are some cringe-worthy things your credit card company knows about you, too. Can we ever catch a break?