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The Minority Report for the business world

Employers wanting to establish a new form of employee monitoring should make sure ?it is data protection compliant first, says Raoul Parekh

21 October 2015

Most employees will not be surprised to learn that their employers are keeping records of websites they visit at work or scanning their email for obscenities.But some companies are now going beyond this low-tech monitoring and deploying a new generation of tools based on psychological analysis.

These products automatically scan employees’ messages ?for signs of dissatisfaction ?with the company. They apply linguistic analysis to digital communications to assess ?the likelihood of an employee becoming a risk to the organisation, perhaps by stealing confidential information. The aim is to identify the problem before it occurs, giving employers time to prevent the risk from crystallising.

For example, a dramatic increase in the number of messages a worker sends to colleagues with ‘negative’ language might be cause for closer examination. Sometimes, even a subtle shift towards referring to management as ‘they’ or ‘them’ can...

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