Connect with us

Latest News

Employers can read ‘private’ DMs without telling workers

Published

on

Get the Better newsletter.

Digital technology makes it easy for your employer to monitor everything you do — the email, instant messages or texts you send and receive — on any company-provided digital devices or work platforms.

Even so, it’s easy to see how employees could assume — mistakenly — that by using Slack, the popular instant-messaging workplace collaboration tool, their direct messages (DMs) are limited to those in their small user group.

The company, based in San Francisco, says more than 6 million U.S. workers use its service every day.

Slack, which stands for “Searchable Log of All Conversations and Knowledge” was originally a way for team members to communicate, but it has “expanded to become a more social platform as well,” as noted in a recent news report in the Daily Mail. Slack has chat rooms (called channels) and users can include emojis in their messages to express reactions.

“Slack is a work collaboration tool, plain and simple,” said attorney Bradley Shear, founder of Digital Armour, a privacy consulting service based in Bethesda, Maryland. “It’s definitely not a watercooler area or any type of place where you should be saying inappropriate things – whether it’s about your boss or other people, or talking about politics, religion or anything of that nature. Slack is something that should only be used specifically for productivity and work purposes.”

Heads Up: Slack is changing its privacy policy

Under the updated policy, which starts on April 20, compliance reports are being discontinued and the downloading options expanded.

Under the updated policy, which starts on April 20, compliance reports are being discontinued and the downloading options expanded.

Since 2014, Slack customers who bought its premium “Plus” plan have been able to download and read communications transmitted via Slack through what’s called a “Compliance Export.” This cannot be done in real time, but the archive downloaded can go back to when that Slack group was created. When an export is done, employees in that Slack group are automatically notified that the boss is watching.

Under the updated policy, which starts on April 20, compliance reports are being discontinued and the downloading options expanded. According to the Slack website:

  • All slack workplace owners will be able to export and download “all public channel data: messages and links to files included.”
  • Those who buy the Plus plan can request access to “a self-service export tool” to download “all data from their workspace.” This includes “content from public and private channels and direct messages.”
  • Workspace owners who use the free and standard plans can use this export tool, under limited circumstances. They must first provide a valid legal process, consent of the members (employees) and a requirement or right under applicable laws.
  • Automatic notices to employees will be discontinued. The employer will now decide whether users will be told their conversations are being exported.

Slack says its policy changes are related to the pending implementation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which takes effect on May 25. This is an attempt “to achieve a balance across regulatory requirements, user expectations and customer needs,” the company said in a statement to NBC News BETTER.

“To protect employees in the workplace, laws and regulations govern specifically what access is permitted by employers,” the statement said. “When extracting any data from Slack, employers must always comply with all employment laws, contracts and privacy protections for employees. Further, the employer is in charge of data that resides on the tools and network that they make available to their employees and employers take the lead on notifying employees about their policies and practices regarding technology, data and information in the workplace.”

A company spokesman told NBC News Better there are situations where an employer may not want its workers to know their communications are being monitored, such as accusations of sexual harassment or corporate espionage. And some companies are required by regulation to archive all communications, he said.

Note: You can still check to see if your boss has access to your DMs. Mashable recently outlined the procedure:

  • “When logged into Slack, head on over to slack.com/account/team. Once you’re on that page, scroll down to the bottom. Under “Exports,” check and see what privileges are listed. If it only lists “PUBLIC DATA CAN BE EXPORTED,” then the spokesperson assured us that your boss cannot pull your DMs. If it lists private data, well, then you’re out of luck.”

Is Slack Help Center Info Misleading?

Use a corporate computer, mobile device or even Wi-fi network and you should not expect anything you do on that device, service or platform that is paid for by the company to be private.

“Private employers generally have policies, which they have their employees acknowledge, preserving their right to review any messages employees store, create, or transmit on the company’s electronic equipment,” said Dan Eaton, an employment attorney and lecturer at San Diego State University’s Fowler College of Business. “Alerting its employees to these policies enables a company to defeat its employees’ later claim to a reasonable expectation that any such communication would remain private between the employee and the recipient.”

But there’s this: Slack’s Help Center page on “Direct messages and group DMs” states that these are “private, ad hoc conversations between two or more members. DMs are best for quick discussions, like making lunch plans.” A group DM can include up to nine people and are useful for “short conversations that don’t need a whole channel, like planning a surprise party,” the site says.

This is followed by a tip box that reads: “Only the members of a DM can search for its contents in Slack.”

That box had a slightly different message before: “Only the members included in the DM can view and search for its messages and content.” Slack says it was simply updated to reflect current policies.

Conversations via Slack are clearly subject to the employee’s corporate privacy, Slack told NBC BETTER, and the company does not believe its privacy policy is confusing or unclear. Some privacy experts we contacted disagree.

Source link

Latest News

Afghanistan: Youngsters protest online against order telling girls not to go to school | World News

Published

on

Afghan girls and boys have joined a social media protest against a decision by the Taliban to prevent young females going to school.

Putting their own safety at risk, many have created makeshift banners to make their points, opposing an edict by the Taliban government that female middle and high school students should not return to school for the time being, while boys of the same age can resume their studies this weekend.

It comes as the interim mayor of Kabul is telling female city authority employees to stay home, with only those whose jobs cannot be done by men allowed to work.

Banner reads: "What is our crime that we are prevented from education?"
Image:
Banner reads: ‘What is our crime that we are prevented from education?’

The moves are further evidence the Taliban, which overran Kabul last month, is enforcing its harsh interpretation of Islam despite initial promises that it would be tolerant and inclusive.

Among the slogans on the banners displayed by the youngsters are statements like: “What is our crime that we are prevented from education?” and “I won’t go to school without my sister. I support my sister. We are equal.”

Sky News has blurred the faces of some of those protesting, as there are fears they could be at risk in a country that appears to be clamping down on the right of expression.

Banner reads: "You took our holy land, so don't take our education from us"
Image:
Banner reads: ‘You took our holy land, so don’t take our education from us’

On Sunday, just over a dozen women staged a protest outside the new ministry, holding up placards calling for the right of women to participate in public life.

The protest lasted for about 10 minutes before a short verbal confrontation occurred with a man and the women got into cars and left, as members of the Taliban watched from nearby cars.

Kabul’s new interim mayor, Hamdullah Namony, told his first news conference that, pending a further decision, most of the 1,000 or so female city authority employees would be required to stay home.

He said exceptions would only be made for women who could not be replaced by men, including some in the design and engineering departments and the attendants of public toilets for women.

The Taliban flags are seen on a street in Kabul, Afghanistan
Image:
The mayor of Kabul has told many female employees of the city authorities to stay home

Mr Namony added: “There are some areas that men can’t do it, we have to ask our female staff to fulfil their duties, there is no alternative for it.”

During its previous rule between the mid 1990s and 2001, the Taliban had forbidden girls and women from schools, jobs and public life.

In recent days, Taliban officials told female university students that classes would take place in gender-segregated settings, and they must abide by a strict Islamic dress code.

Banner reads: "We won't go to schools, until our sisters are allowed to go to school"
Image:
Banner reads: ‘We won’t go to schools, until our sisters are allowed to go to school’

Under the previous US-backed administration, before it was deposed by the Taliban in August, men and women had sat alongside each other in universities, for the most part.

On Friday, the Taliban shut down the ministry for women’s affairs, replacing it with a government department responsible for the “propagation of virtue and the prevention of vice”, with the job of enforcing Islamic law.

Amid deteriorating conditions for ordinary Afghans, many of whom previously relied on international aid, witnesses said an explosion targeted a Taliban vehicle in the provincial city of Jalalabad, the second such deadly blast in as many days in an area where Islamic State militants are said to dominate.

Banner reads: "I don’t go to school without my sister. I support my sister. #We are equal"
Image:
Banner reads: ‘I don’t go to school without my sister. I support my sister. #We are equal’

The Taliban and IS extremists are enemies and battled each other before the Taliban took control of Afghanistan last month.

Initial reports said five people were killed, with a child among the two civilians said to have died. The Taliban were not immediately available for comment.

Source link

Continue Reading

Latest News

Boris Johnson tells world leaders he is growing ‘increasingly frustrated’ at their efforts to tackle climate change | Politics News

Published

on

Boris Johnson has criticised other world leaders over their efforts to tackle climate change, telling them he is growing “increasingly frustrated” that their commitments are “nowhere near enough”.

Speaking during a meeting at the United Nations in New York, the prime minister said the gap between what has been promised by industrialised nations and what they have so far delivered remains “vast”.

Co-hosting a discussion on the issue at the UN General Assembly, Mr Johnson urged fellow leaders to renew their efforts to meet a key financing pledge to help developing nations.

The PM wants to get countries to commit to giving $100bn (£73bn) a year in support to developing nations to cut their carbon emissions and shield themselves against climate change.

But he earlier told reporters there was only a “six out of 10” chance of this target being met before the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow in November – which he then said will be “a turning point for the world” and “the moment when we have to grow up and take our responsibilities”.

He told Sky News’ political editor Beth Rigby: “We have been here before, we have all heard lots of positive noises, let’s see where we get to.

“We are not counting our chickens.”

However, Joe Biden’s climate envoy sounded upbeat when questioned by Sky News.

“I think we’re going to get it done by COP and the US will do its part,” John Kerry said.

Asked if the US president will announce more money this week, he replied: “I’m not hoping… I’m telling you to stay tuned into the president’s speech and we’ll see where we are.”

Chairing the climate discussion on Monday, Mr Johnson noted that “everyone nods and we all agree that something must be done”.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Kerry ‘confident’ of $100bn climate target

“Yet I confess I’m increasingly frustrated that the ‘something’ to which many of you have committed is nowhere near enough,” he continued.

“It is the biggest economies in the world that are causing the problem, while the smallest suffer the worst consequences.

“And while progress is being made all over the world, the gulf between what has been promised, what is actually being delivered, and what needs to happen… it remains vast.

“Too many major economies – some represented here today, some absent – are lagging too far behind.”

And the PM warned countries there would be consequences if the financing target is not met, saying: “If you say that the lives of their children are not worth the hassle of reducing domestic coal consumption, will they vote with you in fora such as this?

“Will they work with you, borrow from you, stand with you if you tell the world that you don’t care whether their land and their people slip below the waves?

Subscribe to ClimateCast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Spreaker

“To be merely a bystander is to be complicit in their fate – yet that is exactly what you will be if you fail to act this year.”

Ahead of the UN meeting, Downing Street said developed countries had “collectively failed” to meet the target.

Figures released last week by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development showed that $79.6bn was mobilised in 2019, more than $20bn off the target.

Watch the Daily Climate Show at 6.30pm Monday to Friday on Sky News, the Sky News website and app, on YouTube and Twitter.

The show investigates how global warming is changing our landscape and highlights solutions to the crisis.

Source link

Continue Reading

Latest News

Serbians block roads in Kosovo in protest over license plate restrictions | World News

Published

on

Protesters have blocked roads in northern Kosovo after authorities stopped cars with Serbian plates from entering the country.

Police in Jarinje, Kosovo are forcing drivers from Serbia to remove or hide license plates and use temporary registration details that are valid for 60 days and cost €5 (£4.30).

Serbia, which lost control of Kosovo in 1999, does not recognise Kosovo and has stopped cars with Kosovo license plates from entering the country.

Kosovo's special force deployed armoured vehicles as hundreds blocked the roads in Jarinje, Kosovo
Image:
Kosovo’s special force deployed armoured vehicles as hundreds blocked the roads in Jarinje, Kosovo

Almost 50,000 Serbs who live in the north of Kosovo and share a border with Serbia, refuse to recognise Pristina’s authorities and as restrictions came into force on Monday, cars and trucks blocked roads in protest.

Police in Kosovo deployed riot gear and armoured vehicles as the blockades built up and Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Albin Kurti, said the move was not taken to harm drivers but was a retaliation measure against Belgrade.

“Today there is nothing illegal or discriminatory,” Mr Kurti said in parliament.

“Just as yesterday, today and tomorrow, Serb citizens will move freely and safely.”

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said the situation is very “serious and difficult”.

“When you are dealing with people who are not responsible, it is difficult to find a solution,” Mr Vucic said.

Drivers waved a Serbian flag as they protested against the government ban on entry of vehicles with Serbian license plates
Image:
Drivers waved a Serbian flag as they protested against the government ban on entry of vehicles with Serbian license plates

The two countries began talks in 2013, mediated by the European Union, to resolve the issues, but little progress has been made.

Kosovo is recognised by around 110 countries, including the United States, Britain and most western countries, but Russia, Serbia’s traditional ally, does not recognise it.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending