Australian Tax Office To Use Keystroke Logger On Employees... But Just To Stop Repetitive Stress Injuries

from the oh-really-now? dept

Slashdot points us to the news that the Australian Tax Office is seeking software to monitor keystrokes and mouse clicks of their employees -- not to spy directly on what they're doing, but in an attempt to learn about why their employees keep coming down with repetitive stress injuries. Apparently, the ATO's insurance premiums were going way up because lots of employees were missing time due to such problems. Realizing this might look bad, the ATO is insisting that this will be "voluntary" (though, who's going to volunteer for that?) and that it would only count keystrokes rather than record them. Either way, I can't imagine most employees will be too excited about this.


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  1.  
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    The eejit (profile), May 12th, 2011 @ 1:29am

    Wow, that's almost an imaginative excuse for spying on your employees. I'm marginally impressed.

     

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  2.  
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    Tor (profile), May 12th, 2011 @ 1:37am

    So they want to decrease stress by installing software whose presence many users would probably find very stressful. What a great plan!

     

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    Peter Brett, May 12th, 2011 @ 1:43am

    Nothing to see here, move along please

    I've been using tools to monitor my keyboard and mouse usage statistics since at least 2004 when I started getting symptoms of RSI. Workrave is excellent, I recommend it. Deploying this sort of software organisation-wide seems like a totally reasonable thing to do as part of a sensible workstation health and safety strategy.

    I'm at a bit of a loss as to how this constitutes a horrible breach of employee privacy, Mike. Maybe I'm just not wearing the right tin-foil hat (and I have a pretty sweet one, you should check it out).

     

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    William, May 12th, 2011 @ 1:52am

    Re: Nothing to see here, move along please

    Workrave isn't logging your usage. I'm at a bit of a less as to how you didn't realize this. Perhaps you just didn't read it. :)

    "The program frequently alerts you to take micro-pauses, rest breaks and restricts you to your daily limit."

     

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    Paul`, May 12th, 2011 @ 2:12am

    Re: Re: Nothing to see here, move along please

    And doing this requires it to count how many times you use your keyboard and mouse. So it does count it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 2011 @ 2:51am

    Re: Nothing to see here, move along please

    Yeah, I often agree with Mike, but I think he's going a bit overboard here. This seems reasonable, and, as you said, there is already some software that fit ATO's needs.

    Besides, what kind of "horrible privacy breach" can a keylogger achieve in a work environment (unless your employees are actually doing something else other than work)?

    One last point, if they WERE going to spy on their employees, why would they shout out to the world that they would do so? Why not silently stick a keylogger into every PC and call it good?

     

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    Chargone (profile), May 12th, 2011 @ 3:05am

    Re: Re: Nothing to see here, move along please

    ehhh, i figure it's a reasonable, possibly good, idea... with a lot of potentual for abuse. one of those 'let's see if it pans out and hope it's worth the risk' things that i'd have no problem doing if i were running the place... but would be rather dubious about if i were an employee and didn't know the boss, personally, to not be the sort to abuse such...

     

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    Peter Brett, May 12th, 2011 @ 3:11am

    Re: Re: Nothing to see here, move along please

    Workrave isn't logging your usage.


    Wrong. It logs usage statistics at a daily granularity.

     

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    NotMyRealName (profile), May 12th, 2011 @ 3:27am

    My question is, why bother with a study? Studies have been done. Lower the monitors, replace the (I'm sure) shit oem dell keyboards/mice with an ergo keyboard and user option a trackball.

    See a problem, fix the cause. Why is this difficult?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 12th, 2011 @ 3:43am

    Seems RSI is contagious when it comes to bureaucracies. I mean working at the tax office can't be too much fun. Jane in the cubicle next door just got 3 months off paid for her RSI. Gee, come to think of it, my wrist is starting to hurt as well.

     

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    Crash, May 12th, 2011 @ 4:11am

    To me, it seems there doing this for the correct reasons, and by the correct method by allowing employees to volunteer. I need to use horrible inefficent software (when it comes to clicks/keystrokes) daily and would love if my company took interest in this. Hopefully they will use the data to help improve/streamline the software they use.

     

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    abc gum, May 12th, 2011 @ 4:50am

    Re: Nothing to see here, move along please

    Shameless plug

     

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    senshikaze (profile), May 12th, 2011 @ 4:55am

    at (where I work in IT), we spy on every single employee. It has saved us from something in the past, but it kind of underhanded. Of course, since we are a private company we can do that kind of thing. We use Spector360. Thankfully it is windows and OSX only, so my Fedora 15 PC at work is safe. :)

     

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    abc gum, May 12th, 2011 @ 4:58am

    This is great. They can claim they are doing something.
    You see, they need to study the problem for a really long time before spending any money on potential solutions. The cost / benefit analysis says so.

     

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  15.  
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    New Mexico Mark, May 12th, 2011 @ 6:20am

    To a man with a hammer...

    Funny that bean counters would think the best way to fix a health problem is by counting keystrokes and mouse clicks.

    Heaven help the employees if this same problem occurs in a colonoscopy clinic.

    NMM

     

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