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Teams, Slack: can your messages be read by your boss ?

© Unsplash/Stephen Phillips – Hostreviews.co.uk

Can your messages sent to a colleague on professional messaging services such as Workplace (Meta), Microsoft Teams or Slack be seen by your boss ? The question arises very seriously at the reading this article published by Business Insider.

Suspicious surveillance

Our colleagues return to the AI ​​system deployed by the American startup Aware which reads messages sent on these services with one objective in mind: to identify employees' reactions to internal changes in a company or to a marketing campaign. The idea is also to prevent incidents such as toxic behavior or harassment.

Several well-known companies have already used Aware's technology, including T-Mobile, Walmart, Starbucks and Chevron. No less than 20 billion messages sent to more than 3 million employees are therefore analyzed.

Concretely, this system only collects general data to better understand the overall mood. There is therefore theoretically no question of intercepting the names of potential offenders. But in some cases, confidentiality can potentially be breached, and the identity of the offender will be communicated. We are talking here about violence or intimidation considered extreme, without further details.

This is not enough to reassure defenders of individual freedoms. Quoted by CNBC, Amba Kak, executive director of the AI ​​Now Institute at New York University, emphasizes: “No company is essentially able to give general guarantees as to the confidentiality and security of LLM (Large Language Model, the technology of ChatGPT and its rivals Editor's note) and of this type of systems”.

A counterproductive copping

In any case, this innovation is used in a context where spying on employees is becoming commonplace within companies. This is a practice that should, however, be handled with caution, as it can in certain cases turn against the employer.

So, last year we mentioned this research carried out by David Welsh, professor at Arizona State University. The latter noted that surveillance encouraged employees to break the rules. He noted an increase in unauthorized breaks, deliberately slower work, or even more frequent theft of equipment among the most targeted employees.

Why&nbsp ;? Employees who feel they are being spied on too much tend to lose their sense of individual responsibility. From then on, surveillance strips them of all dignity in their work. The result is suffering which pushes them to no longer respect the rules.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116