Privacy in the Workplace – Keystroke Loggers are a No-No

Well…, the Privacy Commissioner for the Province of Alberta has recently come out with a ruling against the use of ‘keystroke logging software’ in the workplace. The director of Parkland Regional Library, Patricia Silver, has responded to CBC Radio and the Globe and Mail newspaper suggesting my productivity, or lack thereof, was the motive for installing a ‘keystroke logger’ on my workstation. This leaves me with little choice but to refute these preposterous allegations.

As the Privacy Commissioner rightly concluded there were other less intrusive and invasive means to monitor productivity without resorting to the indiscriminate use of ‘keystroke logging’ software. As a matter of fact, I provided Parkland Regional Library with just such a way of evaluating productivity in the form of the highly regarded trouble ticketing software,Request Tracker.

All help desk problems were dumped into a MySQL database where simple queries would be more than sufficient to determine who worked on what problem, what was done to resolve the situation, and how long it took. Quite frankly, I’m surprised that Parkland Regional Library would pursue ‘productivity’ as justification for the installation of ‘keystroke logging’ software in light of the fact they had the perfect way of gauging productivity by exploiting software I provided them with. Go ahead and make your own conclusions as to their motive.

If you want a little more background information into this whole affair feel free to check out a few things I have put up online regarding this matter. Note the times and dates on the various documents.

Before closing I would just like to thank a couple of folks that urged me to pursue this matter for the sake of worker privacy everywhere. Thanks go to Michael Geist, privacy expert at the University of Ottawa, for the prodding, Philippa Lawson, Executive Director of the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), for the encouragement and April Brousseau for a very well done research memo that was very helpful in reaching the decision I finally obtained from the Privacy Commissioner. And I guess a final thank you would have to go to Frank Work, the Privacy Commissioner for the Province of Alberta for putting me at ease as I represented myself at the inquiry and for offering his personal parking stall when I couldn’t find parking.

Check back regularly, no telling what little nugget of gnarled knowledge or whimsical wisdom you’re going to unearth here but it could be a ‘Vindication Nugget’, one of the most cherished of all nuggets.

Hasta La L8r Señor Snoop