When Office Technology Goes Too Far

In February, a Swedish office did something to help employees always stay connected to their work. We don’t mean via email, messaging, texts or anything like that. We mean, connected by literally becoming a part of their workplace. What did they do? CNet reported that the high-tech company Epicenter, “implanted RFID chips the size of a rice grain,” into employees’ hands.

You read that right. The company took what some call is the next step into the future, to create a seamless transition to work. What if you forgot your key or forgot the password to use a Xerox machine? With the chip, which interacts with employees’ smartphones, computers and even bike locks, employees no longer have to worry about being locked out. But is this “upgrade” more of a bio-hack? A wrong step into the future? When do we know when office technology has gone too far?

The idea of, “big brother,” has been around for ages but may be the idea is turning into something tangible. We don’t expect to be chipped at our New Hire Orientation, but should we?

We may already feel violated that companies are watching our every move via social media, ad tracking and more. Instead of shying away from posting your lunch on Instagram or re-tweeting what Bill Gates ate for breakfast, value your privacy by taking the right measures to protect it:

  • Just Say No to Public Wi-Fi. Whether you’re at work or working from your favorite coffee shop, find a secure line to connect to. Paying a small cost for access to a virtual private network can significantly improve your privacy on public networks and save you the trouble of dealing with identity theft and compromising sensitive information.
  • Encrypted Cloud > the Cloud

We think of the Cloud as this omnipresent file cabinet and many people use it to save and share a variety of documents. Unlike the cloud, an encrypted cloud storage service encrypts data on your computer before sending it to other file-sharing services.

  • Lock It Up

When you walk away from your computer, log off or take it with you. Although it can be easy to identify people around you who could possibly have access, this becomes near impossible when you consider remote access. Logging off can prevent access to those in your immediate proximity but to be really secure, disconnect your computer from the Internet when you aren’t using it. DSL and cable modems make it possible for users to be online all the time, but this convenience comes with risks. The likelihood that attackers or viruses scanning the network for available computers will target your computer becomes much higher if your computer is always connected.

  • Do the Two Step

Set up and actively use two-factor authentication. This is an easy and effective way to secure your online accounts. You still enter a username and password when logging in, but an added step is involved–the website will either text or call you with a unique, short single-use code that you will type in on the login page. If someone tries to hack into your account, they will also need access to your phone to receive the code to get in.

These are just a few steps you can take to protect your privacy, whether at work or at home. The key is to trust your judgment!

Do you think the Swedish company Epicenter went too far? What are your tips to value your online privacy?

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