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Navigating the Legal and Ethical Issues of Using Keylogger Software in the Workplace

Keylogger Software in the Workplace


Although many employers nowadays use keylogger software in the workplace, its use is still fairly controversial. The idea that there is software running quietly in the background that is recording every keystroke that is entered on a computer tends to evoke a lot of negative implications, and many employees are fairly uncomfortable with it.

The reason for the widespread use of keylogger software by employers however is due to its benefits. By capturing what employees are typing, employers are able to identify any information leaks, illegal behavior, or other risks that could impact the company. Often the knowledge that keystrokes are being logged can help to dissuade any potential infringements.

If you are thinking about using keylogger software in your workplace however, you should be aware that there are two distinct types of issues that you should consider: Legal, and ethical. While both these issues


Legal Issues

Although whether or not keylogger software is legal is an issue that varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, in most states (and countries) it is completely legal for employers to install keyloggers and capture data using them. The reason for this is simple: Work computers are deemed to be the property of the company, and as such employers can install and track activity on them.

That being said the usage of some of the data collected via keylogger software may be in violation of certain laws. In particular while keyloggers may capture personal passwords and other information, that data should not be used to access personal emails or other accounts that aren’t work related and therefore do not fall under the company.

Additionally in some states it is required by law that employees by fully informed of the use of keylogger software. In line with that the employer should disseminate a company-wide policy that details the use of keyloggers and other monitoring software, and requires that employees sign to acknowledge they are aware of it.


Ethical Issues

Aside from the legal issues, the main thrust of the ethical issues associated with keylogging are tied to the potential misuse of information. If an employee consents to having keylogger software present on their workstations, they would expect that their private information that may be inadvertently captured will be protected.


In short there is a certain trust that needs to exist, and any violation of that would definitely be ethically questionable. While the use of data from keylogger software may be used to protect the company from information leaks and other activities – it should be limited to that.


If you’re using WorkExaminer to track and capture keystrokes, you will be able to specify a list of programs that you want to record, including email clients, instant messaging services, and so on. More importantly you will also be able to search for specific keywords or phrases that may be related to sensitive information – rather than going through a specific employees entire keystroke history.


Its other monitoring features will let you take screenshots at specific intervals, track internet usage, or even block USB drives or specific programs. In short you can secure your work environment on multiple fronts by using WorkExaminer, and keylogging will be a key part of that.


By being aware of the legal and ethical issues discussed above you should be able to decide how best to use WorkExaminer. At the end of the day the aim should be to benefit from it, while ensuring that you don’t face any negative issues that could impact your company.

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