Can My Employer See My Browsing History On My Phone?
Due to the global pandemic situation, remote work is on the rise. Perhaps, your employer allows you to work from home while providing work equipment such as laptops, phones, or internet connections. So, is it possible that your employer is watching you?
Your employer can access your data when you’re using company-issued devices. Each state has its own rules regarding employee privacy protection. In general, your employer is most likely to have legal clearance to see your browsing history on your phone without your permission.
Privacy concerns are on the rise. Rightly so, there’s a raging pandemic that people don’t talk about. It’s a pandemic of cyberattacks. To understand how it affects you and your employer, keep reading.
Why Your Employer Can See Your Browsing History?
Your employer is watching your browsing history and other activities as a security measure. Regardless of the state or country where you’re working, laws are in place to protect companies from security breaches.
It’s not only security issues that inspire companies to breathe down your neck during work hours.
For example, these zero-privacy policies prevent sexual harassment, leaking confidential data, or using company devices for your side hustle.
Thus, your employer is legally empowered to override your privacy rights to protect the company’s assets.
And by signing the contract as an employee, you agreed to these terms.
Your employer can access more data than your browsing history, especially when you’re using a company-issued device and to some extent when you’re connecting with a personal device.
To-do Lists, Personal Notes, Call Log
If you have the habit of taking notes on your mobile, your employer might have access to those, too. Your calendar, to-do list, call logs fall into that category as well.
Your employer is probably monitoring your incoming and outgoing work emails. They can read, intercept, and block emails. Depending on the rules the IT team puts for the email server, your employer can stop you from forwarding emails.
You might be unaware, but your employer might have remote access to your device, so they have complete control over the data. They can remote control the device, take screenshots, and generate performance reports.
As WhatsApp is a valuable business tool, many professionals depend on it for communication. That’s why your employer might be watching your chats on WhatsApp for suspicious behavior.
WhatsApp provides an end-to-end encryption feature, but your employer can still watch some data about your chats. If not, your employer would probably forbid you from using encryption on company-provided devices.
And yes, that includes your venting on social media, Slack, and private chats.
Most company-issued devices probably have GPS activated so your employer can track your location. And you may not have the right to turn it off.
You can change your location by using a VPN, but it might be against the rules. Even on a personal device, especially during work hours.
It’s near impossible to circumvent employer surveillance whether you’re using workplace-provided devices or your personal devices.
So, you need to stay where you say you are, go where your employer tells you to go, or keep away from particular places.
Can My Employer See My Browsing History On My Phone?
Yes, your employer can and does see your browsing history on your phone. And here’s what you can do about it:
If you don’t want to lose your job, make sure you follow the rules. Don’t use company assets to work on your business. And avoid doing and saying anything you wouldn’t want your employer to access during work hours.
First thing first, you’ll need to stop using company resources for personal gain.
Read The Fine Print
It’ll help you connect the dots.
If you disagree, you’re free to walk away and find another job.
Otherwise, learn to live in a zero-privacy environment by separating between work and play.
Master Work-Life Balance
It boils down to work-life balance. If you have this cornerstone in place, you needn’t worry about whether your employer can see your browsing history on your phone.
Conduct your personal business before or after work hours, but never during. This will help you focus on your actual work and stay productive.
Say no to using your employer’s devices for pleasure. Also, know in advance what your employer expects from you.
Planning your time in advance will also help. During work hours, focus on doing the best job you can do. At the same time, save some personal time for your personal projects outside work hours.
Avoid Using A VPN
Using a VPN will immediately raise suspicious about your activity during work hours. If it’s work-related, ask for permission to use a VPN.
Using the private browsing mode in your internet browser might also raise a red flag, so be careful with it. While it’ll erase your browsing history after you log out, your employer can access your history while browsing.
So, is it worth it?
You won’t only jeopardize your job, but you’ll also put the entire network in grave danger.
If it’s a pressing issue, your employer will understand and grant permission. Otherwise, you better delay having fun until you’re home or already finished your work.
What Can You Do To Protect Your Privacy?
Navigating this data-driven era isn’t easy. And you have lots to lose by not knowing the limits of your rights. While your employer can see your browsing history on your phone, it doesn’t mean they should use your data against you.
At the same time, it’s your responsibility to protect your privacy within the laws in your state or country.
The best way to stay safe is not to connect with your personal phone to the company’s network. The next best thing to do is buying a work-related phone that you use for work purposes only.
And when your employer gives you a phone, use it for work only.