Is there any way to find out what your employee or kids are doing on their desktops when you are not breathing down their necks? What sites do they visit, whom do they communicate with, what do they share through social network services? Many of us would like to know more about computer activity of our loved ones in order to protect them from multiple threats or to put under control our subordinates’ work time with the aim to improve labor productivity. Are there any software tools available on the market that make such surveillance simple and convenient even for unadvanced user?
Sure, you have a chance to learn almost everything about users’ computer activity due to invisible spy software – a special kind of software that collects information about what users are doing on their desktops. This computer programs are also called spyware, but it should not be confused with malware like Trojans, backdoors or rootkits. The first type is absolutely legal and installed with the knowledge and consent of an administrator, while the second is installed on desktops illegally and conducts secret malicious activity.
In fact, there are plenty of spyware types and monitoring or tracking programs are only one of them. They are usually used by parents, employers or spouses, who want to have better control over their business and private lives. Sometimes they are installed upon notifying a person under surveillance and the software works in transparent mode, but there is also stealth PC monitoring software. These programs operate absolutely unseen by a user under surveillance and they cannot be detected in a standard way, for example by checking the task manager. If you don’t tell the user he/she is being tracked, the person won’t be able to figure it out without using special anti-spy software. On the other hand, you are free to notify the person about the monitoring software installed and then to use the program in stealth mode.
This is the first question that pops up when speaking about spyware. And the answer largely depends on where and for what purposes you are going to use the software.
Though in some countries the legislation may differ, generally laws are on employers’ side. Employers are legally allowed to use spyware in order to track how their employees spend the work time, as well as how they use company’s equipment.
The thing is that desktops used by employees are owned by a certain company and the company is at liberty to check whether they are used as intended, just like they would check how much gas did you spend driving a corporate car. Stealth computer monitoring allows the company to identify those staff members who use their computers at workplace for personal purposes.
Besides, any company pays salaries for performing certain duties rather than for watching funny videos on the Internet or chatting in social networks (unless this is part of job responsibilities). And any company establishes its working hours when the employees are supposed to work, while they can relax during their official lunch and other breaks. Moreover, in the standard labor contracts many companies specify that:
Stealth monitoring software is one of means of control over preserving property, work time and attendance just like monitoring with the help of turnstiles, video cameras or electronic sensors. So, it is both legal and ethical to use it, isn’t it?
However, there are certain conditions employers need to observe in order to comply with laws:
Besides, in some jurisdictions stealth remote computer monitoring is legal only if the provision on monitoring programs is specified in corporate regulations and/or there is employee’s written consent given upon labor agreement conclusion.
Spyware can be considered either legal or illegal depending on which computer it is installed on. For example, you want to install spyware on your PC – you are its owner and have every right to install everything you like provided it isn’t something prohibited by law. And you are not obliged to inform other people using your PC about stealth monitoring software installed.
However, installing spyware on somebody else’s computer is a whole different story. You have to inform the owner about your intention or at least notify the person when the software is installed. Sure, the owner has the right to require de-installation and you will have to obey, but this is the only legal way to use spyware.
As for PCs that are shared by several people, it is rather difficult to draw a distinction between legal and illegal. In a perfect world, each user should have his/her own login and act within his/her user rights – this allows distinguishing their areas of privacy, which is, as we know, protected by law. But in the real world, people often buy and use things together paying little attention to who owns what. And this makes it difficult to understand where someone’s privacy starts and ends. So, when installing stealth remote control software it is recommended to follow the scheme:
Using spyware as part of parental control is open and shut case, as a matter of law. You have to protect your children from age inappropriate content, since you are the one responsible for their physical and psychological health. You can choose to inform or not inform the child about surveillance at your own discretion, although some psychologists believe that informing helps build trust between kids and adults, while deterring the child from temptation. Sure, you shouldn’t abuse your parental rights, but there are no laws prohibiting you from using stealth remote access software in order to protect your kids for numerous cyber threats.
There is a choice of spyware on the market and some of the programs are better than others due to their multifunctional performance, ease of deployment and advanced usability. Work Examiner is one of the best Windows-compatible applications, which can operate in stealth mode and can be used for both parental control and employee monitoring. It is available in three editions designed specifically for at-home use, small and medium businesses and large corporations. It provides stealth remote access to multiple desktops and allows:
There are even more features and benefits you can take advantage of – just download a free trial version of this stealth remote desktop software and test it!
Article Photo © Philip Leara | Flickr
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