Microsoft Teams Maybe Collecting Data That Employers Can Use to Spy on Workers

Privacy has always been a controversial matter since the beginning of the digital era. Now, more than ever, consumers are getting more and more weary each day regarding the data that they share on various online platforms. Right after WhatsApp's privacy controversy Microsoft Teams has landed itself in a similar soup.

Currently, concerns are growing regarding how much data Microsoft Teams consumes and collects while users make video calls using the app. It appears that the amount of data, which the app collects, presents privacy infringement for individual users. Also, it seems that the employers can manipulate and use that data to spy on their workers, given how much remote work takes place following the pandemic.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, more and more employees have been forced to work remotely and for that, they had to opt for digital collaboration tools such as this one to complete their work. This new normal work routine has attracted more attention towards the data collection process of these platforms.

The latest research points out that businesses and employers can make use of the Microsoft Teams Activity Report in order to get a hold of a breakdown of each individual user's usage. What is scarier is that, this treasure trove of information includes one's files, voicemails, chats, privacy settings, and even the time stamps of a user.

There is little to no doubt that the tech behemoth would defend its actions by stating that collecting these data is tremendously important for adding more features to the app and boosting productivity for the businesses, as it has done the same recently. It should be taken into account that most of these employees that use these digital collaboration tools don't have a choice regarding using the app. So, it seems like they are being coerced to give up their data, even if they don't want to.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Reuters

Furthermore, Satya Nadella, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Microsoft has recently announced that he wishes to expand Teams significantly and make the app a "digital platform as significant as the internet browser." So, it's only likely that the app would soon start seizing even more data of the users that it is doing now.

Last year in October the tech giant had announced the launch of a new 365 Productivity Score feature, using which various businesses could have made their digital transformation projects faster. However, it was heavily criticized for being essentially an employee surveillance tool. Although Microsoft anonymized the data in response to the complaints, so that the information could not be used to snoop on the employees, the said data is still being collected. Only time will tell, whether or not Microsoft chooses a similar response in terms of Teams.