Microsof new productivity score lets bosses control how much you use email, Teams, or even whether you activate the camera during meetings: Microsoft has a new tool that allows companies to calculate how much time workers spend on work tools such as email, Microsoft Teams or Word, which privacy experts say constitutes a form of "work surveillance."
The tool, called productivity score, was first announced by the company in October and released on November 17. It allows employers to collect detailed data on how their employees use the Microsoft Toolkit.
The system then assigns each company a "productivity score" of 800 over a period of 28 days, with which it is possible to make comparisons with the scores of other companies in the same sector.
The data used by the productivity score is incredibly detailed, and employers have the ability to focus on employees individually. For example, an employer can see how much time a particular person has spent in Microsoft Outlook in the last 28 days, or how much time they have spent sending direct messages in Microsoft Teams.
The tool also collects more surprising data, for example, how often an employee turns on his camera during a team meeting.
Privacy experts have expressed concern about this tool.
Data privacy researcher Wolfie Christl says it " turns Microsoft 365 into a complete job surveillance tool." In addition, it adds that the use of the tool may even be illegal in some countries of the European Union with strict rules on data privacy and consent.
Microsof new productivity score lets bosses control
Christl points out that although employers can turn off employee surveillance at the individual level, it is turned on by default when they turn it on for the first time.
"This normalizes intensive surveillance in the workplace in a way unknown until now," he says.
Bennett Cyphers, a technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has explained to Forbes that tools such as productivity scoring can permanently change the balance of power between employers and employees.
"I'm afraid that when Microsoft provides people with these employee control panels, workers get used to living with this level of surveillance, and managers get used to having a nice feed of data about their employees and it will be a blessing according to the industry," he says.
Microsoft says the productivity score is not a surveillance tool. "Let me be clear: productivity scoring is not a job surveillance tool," wrote Microsoft's 365 Corporate Vice President Jared Spataro when the company first announced that the tool was up and running in October.
"Productivity scoring is an optional experience that gives IT managers insights into technology and infrastructure usage," said a Microsoft spokesperson.
"The data is intended to help organizations make the most of their technology investments by addressing common issues such as long start-up times, inefficient document collaboration or poor network connectivity. Perceptions appear in aggregate over a period of 28 days and are provided at the user level so that a computer system administrator can provide technical support and guidance," the spokesperson adds.
Teleworking during the pandemic has highlighted the problems of work surveillance. In March, downloads of a tool called Sneek, which took pictures of people every five minutes through their webcams, increased tenfold.
A Gartner analysis published in June revealed that 16% of employers were deploying tools to perform operations such as email surveillance and the use of work computers.
Microsof new productivity score lets bosses control
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Good, beautiful and cheap: 3 Xiaomi phones that are triumphing this Black Friday
That Black Friday is an excellent time to get a smartphone, everyone knows, but what may not be so clear is whether the device will be up to the task or if the discount is relevant enough to get hold of it.
If you are looking for a mobile that meets the premise of good, nice and cheap, Xiaomi has offers this Black Friday and the truth is that it discounts some of its latest devices that fall within the category of good, nice and cheap.
The best? You can get your favorite option for just over 200 euros.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro
The first device, the cheapest, is the Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro, a terminal that stays ATB 199 euros and stands out for a rocky autonomy and dimensions more typical of a phablet, something that you will love if you are looking for a mobile with a huge screen.
In addition, it also offers an interesting photographic section and enough performance so that you do not have any problems with multitasking or to play whatever you want.
Little NFC X3
The second candidate is the Poco X3 NFC, a device of the Xiaomi subsidiary that has just come out of the oven that will fall in love with its screen fluidity, since it has a refresh rate of 120Hz, and for a simply spectacular autonomy: 3 days at full performance.
It also has a very competent camera for its price range and a very customizable software, but that's right: it lacks some polishing.
Mi 10t Lite 5G
Finally, one of the most interesting devices of Xiaomi this Black Friday is the Mi 10t Lite 5G which has as its main attraction the fashionable connectivity.
It will also fit you if you are looking for a device with personality, fast charging and a super-fluid 120Hz display where everything looks frankly good.