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Monitor Employees via WebCam

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  • Webcams
  • Monitors
  • Apps
Last response: in Apps General Discussion
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May 4, 2012 5:10:34 PM

Hello,
I'm contemplating installing software to monitor employee activity...mainly 3rd shift. I've viewed some applications, but was curious if anyone here has a preference or experience in this area. Here are my main needs:

Must be discreet. I want to ensure there's no Add/Remove Program listed. No icon appearing in the system tray when activated.

I don't want a resource hog affecting the PC or bandwidth.

Can monitor or access data remotely, as well as store specified data indefinitely.

Must not turn on the built in cam LED light. This is where I'm not finding any answers. If the built in LED comes on, as it normally does when the cam is in use, it would defeat the whole purpose of monitoring.

Decent app support.

I'm looking at 9 machines right now. I obviously don't want to pay an arm and a leg. Any info, or useful feedback is much appreciated.

More about : monitor employees webcam

a c 115 C Monitor
May 4, 2012 5:20:29 PM

What you are doing is illegal, the employees have to know they are being monitored, especially if you are using the webcams. Get a general security camera and set it up in the area, let them know it's there.
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a b C Monitor
May 4, 2012 5:23:59 PM

LongLiveRock1974 said:

Must not turn on the built in cam LED light. This is where I'm not finding any answers. If the built in LED comes on, as it normally does when the cam is in use, it would defeat the whole purpose of monitoring.


This is where you will have a problem. Unless you can update the firmware in the camera, the activity LED is designed to come on when in use.
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May 4, 2012 5:39:17 PM

I'm not doing anything illegal. As long as my staff knows they can "potentially" be monitored and it is a documented policy, I'm covered. It's only illegal to do it in a bathroom, changing room, or at home. I just need to inform them there has been an important update to the employee handbook. None of them will take the initiative to view the update and all will be well.

Overhead cameras would not work in my work space. It is a cubicle environment with plenty of blind spots.

Damn firmware. Actually, firmware might be readily available as many companies are using this approach these days.
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a b C Monitor
May 4, 2012 5:49:31 PM

It will most likely need to be *custom* firmware as I don't know of any camera manufacturers who's firmware disables the LED since then the camera can be used in unscrupulous ways.
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a c 115 C Monitor
May 4, 2012 5:54:27 PM

As long as they know it's OK, but doing it through webcam when they don't know it's on, bit shady. If it was me working there I'd contact the ACLU to check this plan out. If you want to monitor them, get a keylogger not a video camera, unless you think they are stealing.

I don't know ANY company that spies on the employees though computer webcams, where did you see that? Usually that's done by hackers who want to catch women changing.
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May 4, 2012 6:18:23 PM

Well we use All-in -One devices and not peripheral webcams...basically same as laptop designs. I'll need to research.

The problem I have is I believe people to be sleeping. What you call spying, I call accountability. It may seem shady, but if people are doing what needs to be done there shouldn't be a concern/issue. Short of termination, I've exhausted my other resources.

Old, but relevant:
http://www.abramslaw.com/CM/Articles/Tracking-Employees...
http://technology.inc.com/2008/03/01/smile-youre-on-the...


http://www.oleansoft.com/hiddencamera.htm
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a c 115 C Monitor
May 4, 2012 6:26:41 PM

That last one is not a video capture, it does capture screens and logs other PC activity which is acceptable with no grey areas.

And the other link: "But they need to use more caution and create policies if using webcams to monitor employees. " Which is what I pointed out.

Using webcams is one thing, we use them for video conferences at times, using them to view who is sitting at the desk and what they are doing is another. Sleeping is not too hard to figure out, do they have things to do on the computer/phone? Is it pretty much regular schedule? Setup a key logger, if they don't type anything for an hour and they should, seems like something is up. And don't you have shift supervisors or something to manage them? Unless they are the ones doing the sleeping hehe.
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a b C Monitor
May 4, 2012 6:33:07 PM

If the only way that you can tell if your staff are doing their job is to covertly spy on them then you certainly have problems. But they are not technological problems, they are management problems.

Can't you think of any way to measure their output? Your plans are reprehensible IMO. If you implement them I hope that your staff find out and take legal action against you. It could cost you dearly.
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May 4, 2012 6:42:21 PM

hang-the-9 said:
That last one is not a video capture, it does capture screens and logs other PC activity which is acceptable with no grey areas.

And the other link: "But they need to use more caution and create policies if using webcams to monitor employees. " Which is what I pointed out.

Using webcams is one thing, we use them for video conferences at times, using them to view who is sitting at the desk and what they are doing is another. Sleeping is not too hard to figure out, do they have things to do on the computer/phone? Is it pretty much regular schedule? Setup a key logger, if they don't type anything for an hour and they should, seems like something is up. And don't you have shift supervisors or something to manage them? Unless they are the ones doing the sleeping hehe.



I just used that program as an example. It does say "After this, you will be able to control all the computer screens and office through webcams in real time and off-line modes.", but perhaps I am reading that wrong.

This is a phone support position and nights are very slow...maybe 2-3 calls during an 8 hour shift. I am the office manager. I do have a shift supervisor, but I believe he is the #1 culprit. Sadly, I am required to work first shift due to client needs. I do pop in at night from time to time, but until I get in the door, I can't really catch them in the act. Hmmmm...I'll need to continue my search tomorrow. It is about 1500 here. I have Jack/Coke and SWTOR calling me.

Thanks for your input. I will surly take it under advisement:) 
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May 4, 2012 6:56:15 PM

Ijack said:
If the only way that you can tell if your staff are doing their job is to covertly spy on them then you certainly have problems. But they are not technological problems, they are management problems.

Can't you think of any way to measure their output? Your plans are reprehensible IMO. If you implement them I hope that your staff find out and take legal action against you. It could cost you dearly.



I disagree. I effectively manage 53 people, 5 of which are 3rd shift. It's certainly not a management issue, it's a work ethic and integrity issue on their end.

I'm not finding anything stating it is illegal as long as they are notified and it's not in a bathroom/locker room, or anywhere else someone could undress.


Like I said initially, I'm looking this as an option. I just really researching today, so I have a lot of work to do. I'm just gather folks input along the way.
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a c 115 C Monitor
May 4, 2012 7:00:09 PM

That's really slow, not easy at all to catch work flow issues. But with that slow of a shift maybe there are too many people on then if they have lots of time to sleep or whatever? I was a lead for an odd shift for a 24 hr project group at CVS where we not only had to manage our team but also remote teams at the stores all over the country, there were just enough people where it was almost always work to be done, and sometimes we had to have some remote techs call back or be on hold for a bit. Maybe check over the needs for this shift.
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May 4, 2012 7:30:00 PM

hang-the-9 said:
That's really slow, not easy at all to catch work flow issues. But with that slow of a shift maybe there are too many people on then if they have lots of time to sleep or whatever? I was a lead for an odd shift for a 24 hr project group at CVS where we not only had to manage our team but also remote teams at the stores all over the country, there were just enough people where it was almost always work to be done, and sometimes we had to have some remote techs call back or be on hold for a bit. Maybe check over the needs for this shift.


I hear ya. It's a skeleton shift as not all 5 work every night. The problem is we are contracted to have 5 people that shift, so reducing staff isn't really an option even though it'd save the client money.

Unfortunately I can't really go into all of the details involved as this is an open forum. Perhaps terminations are in order. It's a shame that even in today's economic climate, people still take their job lightly. While complacency plays a large role, laziness is the primary problem.
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May 8, 2012 6:48:35 AM

why don't u try a simple webcamera software that lets you convert your webcam into a surveillance camera? I suggest you try GotoCamera. Doesn't cost an arm and a leg and works pretty well. http://gotocamera.com/
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May 15, 2012 6:22:42 PM

tracykrakauer said:
why don't u try a simple webcamera software that lets you convert your webcam into a surveillance camera? I suggest you try GotoCamera. Doesn't cost an arm and a leg and works pretty well. http://gotocamera.com/


That will still initiate a light on the webcam when it's running.
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October 2, 2012 7:21:19 PM

The solution is so simple. Tell them they are being monitored by a webcam. I think not telling them is somewhat illegal. Even so, telling them will solve the issue. Once they know they are being monitored, they will start working. What's the point of catching them in the act? unless you're trying to get proof to fire them.
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a b C Monitor
October 11, 2012 4:53:25 AM

Why don't you physically remove/break the led? Shouldn't be that hard.
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March 14, 2013 5:59:21 AM

LongLiveRock1974 said:
Hello,
I'm contemplating installing software to monitor employee activity...mainly 3rd shift. I've viewed some applications, but was curious if anyone here has a preference or experience in this area. Here are my main needs:

Must be discreet. I want to ensure there's no Add/Remove Program listed. No icon appearing in the system tray when activated.

I don't want a resource hog affecting the PC or bandwidth.

Can monitor or access data remotely, as well as store specified data indefinitely.

Must not turn on the built in cam LED light. This is where I'm not finding any answers. If the built in LED comes on, as it normally does when the cam is in use, it would defeat the whole purpose of monitoring.

Decent app support.

I'm looking at 9 machines right now. I obviously don't want to pay an arm and a leg. Any info, or useful feedback is much appreciated.


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March 14, 2013 5:59:35 AM

I would recommend deploying on premise desktop monitoring appliance such as RHUB appliances. It provides employee monitoring feature in which you can remotely monitor the PC from anywhere while the computer users cannot see and delete the remote session.
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March 14, 2013 7:25:11 AM

tracykrakauer said:
why don't u try a simple webcamera software that lets you convert your webcam into a surveillance camera? I suggest you try GotoCamera. Doesn't cost an arm and a leg and works pretty well. http://gotocamera.com/


Gotocamera went out of business. They are shutting down. I switched to Camcloud and like it better.

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April 18, 2013 7:59:03 PM

LongLiveRock1974 said:
I'm not doing anything illegal. As long as my staff knows they can "potentially" be monitored and it is a documented policy, I'm covered.

You may be covered from a legal standpoint, but I guarantee your employees would hate you and the work. You can achieve the similar result + keep employees happy if you use something like ResqueTime or ScreenshotMonitor where employees can start and stop monitoring themselves and you can see their monitor screenshots on the web.
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September 9, 2013 7:54:16 AM

webranger14 said:
tracykrakauer said:
why don't u try a simple webcamera software that lets you convert your webcam into a surveillance camera? I suggest you try GotoCamera. Doesn't cost an arm and a leg and works pretty well. http://gotocamera.com/


That will still initiate a light on the webcam when it's running.


Yeah, but if they are sleeping anyway, the light won't matter!
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September 26, 2013 11:56:49 AM

What you are saying is that you want to deceive your employees into thinking they are not being monitored, and you are saying that is not illegal because you also made then aware they are being monitored. That makes no sense. You need to act within the spirit of the law. This post you made makes this illegal because it shows your trying to deceive them. You can't have it both ways. You need to contact a lawyer.
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September 27, 2013 12:18:08 AM

Heyjudy said:
hang-the-9 said:
What you are doing is illegal, the employees have to know they are being monitored, especially if you are using the webcams. Get a general security software and set it up in the area, let them know it's there.


If the boss tell the employees before he installs monitoring software on their computers, it is legal.


I stand by this line.
Mike, if female staff sometime just scratch their breast, back side to other colleagues and facing their pc which means facing you? :) 
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September 27, 2013 6:51:02 AM

Why not just show up unannounced? You don't have to do it every night, just a few times to leave the impression that visits may happen at any time.

As others have recommended, a basic security camera + DVR will allow you to monitor them and use the footage as evidence if they decide to sue you or your company. These run a couple hundred for a decent basic set.
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December 2, 2013 11:33:14 PM

Perhaps the first thing to do is let people know that your IT folks will be monitoring their usage of company computers, etc.:ange: 
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