As long as we were talking ’bout tech earlier… Microsoft Borg, er, Teams looks more Orwellian than ever:
Teaming With Information.
As far back as June, Microsoft explained in somewhat legalistic terms that it’s happily recording so much Teams activity for the benefit of employers and it’s up to them what they do with it.
Sample wording from Redmond’s fine lawyers: “Our customers are controllers for the data provided to Microsoft, as set forth in the Online Services Terms, and they determine legal bases of processing.”
From what I could see, Teams hoovers up all your chats, voicemails, shared meetings, files, transcriptions, your profile details including your email address and phone number, and a detailed analysis of what you were wearing on the call. (I may have made up that last one.)
Cut to September and Microsoft offered a little more about the Teams Activity Report (since updated). Here’s a sentence that’s unsurprising but still a touch uncomfortable: “The table gives you a breakdown of usage by user.”
Everything from how many meetings that user organized to how many urgent messages they sent is recorded. Separate numbers are given for scheduled meetings and those that were ad hoc. Even individuals’ screen-share time is there.
It’s remarkably detailed. But, I hear you cry, is it detailed enough?
In October, then, Redmond offered “a new analytics and reporting experience for Microsoft Teams.” (This was updated last week.)
I confess that just staring at this made me swivel several times in wonder. Microsoft is measuring privacy settings, device types, time stamps, reasons why someone may have been blocked, and “the number of messages a user posted in a private chat.”
It’s a long post filled documenting MS’s egregious invasions of privacy with this “tool.” It’s an interesting read, and if you are using MS Teams, you might want to know what your boss sees.
And in not-really related news (totally related):
At first glance the silicone wristband could be mistaken for one that tracks your heart rate when you are doing exercise.
However, the wearable technology, called a Moodbeam, isn’t here to monitor your physical health. Instead it allows your employer to track your emotional state.
The gadget, which links to a mobile phone app and web interface, has two buttons, one yellow and one blue. The idea is that you press the yellow one if you are feeling happy, and the blue one if you are sad.
Aimed at companies who wish to monitor the wellbeing of staff who are working from home, the idea is that employees are encouraged to wear the wristband (they can say no), and press the relevant button as they see fit throughout the working week.
Managers can then view an online dashboard to see how workers are feeling and coping. With bosses no longer able to check in physically with their team, Moodbeam hopes to bridge the gap.
And if you think any employee is going to press the blue button, I got a bridge to sell.