In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

Can You Use Keylogger Software on Employees?

If you want to spy on your employees, can you consider using keylogger software? The answer is "no" because they have privacy rights.

However, you can use keylogger software if you tell your workers first. That's not spying. That's protecting the company.

How Keyloggers Work

In some ways, keyloggers can protect computer information better than any anti-virus software or firewall because the software works from the inside out.

It monitors computer users as they type, recording each keystroke for review. You can see what they are doing through their words, including user names, passwords, email, websites, and other information they have typed on their keyboards.

The program can guard against liability, theft, and lost productivity -- perhaps the most beneficial aspect of the software for employers. Some programs also enable owners to monitor remotely.

So what's not to like?

Legal Limitations

In a word, "lawsuits." Workers have sued and won cases against employers who invaded their privacy using keyloggers.

For example, a woman sued her employer for accessing her email and checking accounts through a keylogger. The court said the employer violated the state's wiretap laws.

Laws vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but privacy is always the issue. The smart money says to use keyloggers only after notifying employees that the software is in play. And ...

"Under no circumstances should an employer use the passwords to browse the employee's private account history," says the Flexispy.

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