The Sock Diary

Musings of a part-time Sweaty Sock.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Monitoring Technologies Put Developers in an Ethical Hotseat

Devx has an article called Monitoring Technologies Put Developers in an Ethical Hotseat:
So, when you're asked to build monitoring applications that you know will be used to spy on employees, just say no. They can't do it without you. Refuse to build such applications until sufficient legal restrictions are in place to limit companies' monitoring capabilities to appropriate business uses. The power is in your hands. Use it wisely.

This is a thought provoking article. Asking whether a developer should develop monitoring systems and applications that will be used against all employees as it is easier to monitor everyone, and not just selected people. The state of law in both the UK and the US regulates governments monitoring and use of personal data, but nothing much regulates a companys use of employee data, extracted from their emails, RFIDs, web browsing, etc.

Rather predictably I think one shouldn't compromise here, and I hope that I'd refuse should the day ever come, but one of my older and wiser friends pointed out that when it is a choice between keeping your job (and paying your mortgage, etc) and doing some nefarious software that goes against the grain, "principles are fine but fear is the key". Horrible, but true in many cases.


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