14 Million US Workers Under Continuous Online Surveillance

Up to 14 million workers in the United States are subject to continuous surveillance of their e- mail and Internet use, according to a new study released Monday by the Privacy Foundation.

This means one of every three of the 40 million employees using e-mail or the Internet on the job are monitored, said the nonprofit Denver-based group. Worldwide, the number of employees under such surveillance is estimated at 27 million.

The figures were based largely on information gleaned from publicly traded companies that sell surveillance software. The survey concentrates only on systematic surveillance of workers and not on spot-check monitoring.

"Continuous and systematic monitoring surveillance" is defined as a condition in which every Internet connection and every e-mail sent or received is recorded by the employer.

According to the foundation, the dropping cost of surveillance software is the primary reason for its increasingly widespread use. Worldwide sales of employee surveillance software are estimated at 140 million U.S. dollars per year -- roughly 4.25 dollars a year per monitored employee.

The key question raised by the study is whether employers are giving employees sufficient notice of continuous Internet and e- mail monitoring.

People's Daily Online --- http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/