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Are Companies Invading Employee Privacy With Big Data?

February 23, 2016

Big Data analyitics is intended to be used for the purpose of making connections and discovering insights that humans may miss or take longer to uncover. With the recent announcement that companies have been using Big Data to gain information on their own employees, it may be time to question the lack of limitations surrounding Big Data. Is it okay to use Big Data to spy on people ?

Big Data is used to study the behaviors of millions of consumers everyday so what makes this incident any different? When companies look at consumer behavior, it is done with the motive of ensuring customer satisfaction and retention by knowing what individualized customers want. The issue is that when companies use Big Data to spy on the behaviors of their employees, they are not doing it with the employees best interest in mind. Employers are studying their employees online activity to determine which individuals may be searching for other jobs, are more likely to develop a serious illness or even those who are planning to start a family.

Instead of encouraging company culture and facilitating open communication with employees, companies are taking the sneaky route to protect themselves from losing workers. It is understandable for companies to be concerned about losing employees and the need to maintain production, but does this give them the right to essentially spy on their own people? It is important to remember that big data is simply a tool and that it is up to the person using it to gain ethical insights, not sneaky ones.

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