LTIP panel: Staff surveillance risks missing chance for new relationship

Organisations which use the coronavorus as the impetus for much greater surveillance of their employees may be missing an opportunity to create a “transformative relationship”, according to a panel at The Last Thursday in Privacy online event.

The panel “How to minimise insider threats in cyber security during the current pandemic”, as part of LTIP organised by Data Protection World Forum, recognised that the global lockdown had increased risk – but that  problem was that some organisations both under-reacted and over-reacted.

On the former Orrie Dinstein, Global Chief Privacy Officer at Marsh & McLennan, said: “At the beginning many organisations were in survival mode, sending people home quickly and focusing on keeping the lights on. And it was often seen as very temporary, so why invest? But now it’s clearer that what is temporary will be prolonged and for some people it will become the new normal; I don’t think enough people have thought hard about what it means.”

The other side of the reaction was identified by Richard Merrygold, Principal Consultant and DPO at iSTORM Solutions, in terms of the eagerness by some organisations to use new technology to monitor people working from home much more closely than ever before. The paradox is that this risks, he said, turning employees into potential threats, whether through creating negligence or hostility. “The view could be that if you treat me like a child, I will act like a child.”

Todd Ruback, director at Promontory Financial Group, agreed, adding: “This is an opportunity to have a new, transformative relationship with employees which is a lot more collaborative than hierarchical. I urge caution to those organisations who think they need to ramp up coverage [of employees] in response to the coronavirus.”

You can watch the full panel discussion from Last Thursday in Privacy here. You can register for the next Last Thursday in Privacy on 30 July here.

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