Employee Monitoring Through Microsoft Office Software

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Employee Monitoring Through Microsoft Office Software
Short Title Microsoft Office 365 Suite Features Allow Companies to Monitor the Work Habits of Their Workforce in Detail
Location Global
Date December 2020

Taxonomy Surveillance, Exclusion
Information Behavioral, Identifying, Communication, Computer Device
Threat Actors Microsoft, Companies using Microsoft suite

Individuals
Affected Employees of companies that use Microsoft suite
High Risk Groups Employees
Secondary Consequences

In 2020 Microsoft added functions to its 365 office suite, that let employers extensively monitor employees’ work patterns, and calculate their productivity score without their knowledge.

Description

Under the label "Workplace Analytics", Microsoft has released extensive enhancements to the MyAnalytics performance overview in its Microsoft365 software package. While MyAnalytics provides statistics on resource utilization by users, the new Workplace Analytics overview provides additional insights into the work habits of employees. The software uses various benchmarks to calculate a productivity score. Surveillance

The functions for personal employee monitoring include, for example, notes for each user on how many days they have sent e-mails and Yammer messages and used chats and message channels, how many days they have added cross-references to other email addresses to their mails.

By default, the information includes employees' names, group memberships and locations; the software anonymizes this data only optionally, as you can see in the video. In addition, Microsoft 365 apparently knows how long each user has activated their camera and shared their screen in video meetings. The sample video only presents anonymous statistics, but these can only come from individually collected data.

Admins can view all details without notifying the affected users. The fact that employees don’t know about the use of their information in that way and cannot control it, can be interpreted as Exclusion.

Breakdown

Threat: Companies monitoring employees behaviour through Microsoft software
At-Risk group: Employees
Harm: Surveillance
Secondary Consequences: not known

Threat: Companies not letting employees know about and not giving them control over the information that is used to monitor them
At-Risk group: Employees
Harm: Exclusion
Secondary Consequences: not known

Risk Statistics

Laws and Regulations

Sources

https://twitter.com/WolfieChristl/status/1331221942850949121
https://twitter.com/dhh/status/1331266225675137024
https://www.heise.de/news/Anwenderueberwachung-durch-Microsofts-Office-Software-4968615.html