Brits wary of trusting bosses with data

ukflagMost employees don’t trust their bosses to keep private information private – or even not to use it against them in any way, according to a survey.

But there is confusion about how much information their employers are able to see generally, with 41 percent of respondents thinking bosses are not able to see anything at all on their personal devices. MobileIron and Vision Critical, which ran the survey, warn that in reality, if devices are used for corporate email, it is possible for employers to see their emails and attachments on mobile devices just as easily as on a PC.

Respondents were worried the most about employers being able to access personal email and attachments, texts and personal contacts. This is very unlikely, but it is possibly to see the make, model and OS of a device, the IMEI, phone number, a complete list of apps installed, the device’s location, battery level, storage capacity, corporate email and attachments and corporate contacts.

Employers are unable to see information contained in apps, unless the app has been set up to send information to the corporate server. Personal emails, attachments, texts, photos, videos, voicemails and web browsing activity should all be safe.

But the fact employees are worried about such access shows a certain level of distrust in business. MobileIron says the key to winning over employee trust is clear communication – with respondents saying they would be keen to understand in detail the purpose of seeing device information and how that is separated from work.

However, 20 percent of respondents said they wanted employers to ask for written consent before they were able to access anything on a personal device, and 18 percent would like written notification about exactly what their bosses can and can’t see.

The survey was carried out in the US, the UK and Germany and talked to just shy of 3,000 randomly selected employed adults. Respondent data shows young workers were more savvy about privacy concerns more than any other identifier.

Brits were the most cynical, with 36 percent agreeing there is “nothing” employers can do to increase trust on privacy.