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The Creepy, Intrusive Ways You're Being Spied on at Work

How employers invade workers' privacy.

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Like schools, the typical workplace is defined by the struggle to manage large numbers of people. In each environment, one group attempts to exert power over others. And in each environment, too, the new arsenal of the surveillance society is redefining our daily lives. With performance monitoring, cubicle farms, keystroke tracking, background checks, drug testing, and all the other facets of surveillance in the modern workplace, the trends most famously linked to Frederick Winslow Taylor have become a way of life. Older means of surveillance such as audits, double-entry bookkeeping, time clocks, and simply concentrating workers in single, observable locations now seem like quaint throwbacks to a simpler era.


John Gilliom is a Professor of Political Science at Ohio University.

Torin Monahan is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.