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Individuals with work devices may be concerned that their employer is monitoring their activity. One minute you’re researching something for work and something sparks a personal interest making it easy to veer off. So, the question is can my employer see my internet activity on my phone?

Employers can see your internet activity on your phone. Especially when it is a company phone, and you are connected to your company’s network. A company phone runs on data and voice time that the company pays for so they may want to monitor how it is used.

phone activity

The thought of an employer seeing the activity on one’s work phone may be worrisome. Individuals often feel like their privacy is being violated. In this article, we will discuss how your employer can monitor your phone activity, your personal email, your social media, and your GPS tracking.

Can My Employer See My Internet Activity on My Phone?

The reality is that the working industry is advancing by the second. More businesses are migrating to an online space. This means that most of its employees need to have access to reliable devices.

One of these is a phone that can manage tasks by having access to things like email, internet browsers, applications from their App store, and Web-based applications such as Google Docs.

These play a vital role in daily business functions. It is more common now for businesses to provide their employees with a reliable phone.

Doing so allows them to control what their employee is doing with their company phone. Employers can place a cap on the amount of call time and data that the employee uses.

This might be an important measure for companies to stick to their budget. Here, I will talk about ways that employees can monitor your phone activity and the legalities surrounding this.

Is It Legal for My Employer to Track My Phone?

This is a controversial debate because it depends on a few factors. It is legal if certain guidelines are met but whether it’s ethical is questionable. It is a fight between one’s right to privacy versus the employer’s right to know how their money is being spent.

The first factor to consider is if the company provides the device. Companies have more rights with tracking employees’ internet activity when they provide the phone.

It is considered more ethical when they obtain employees’ consent to do so and most of the time, written agreements are the most legal way to do this.

Last, employers have more rights to monitor employees’ internet activity when they also provide the internet connection, whether it be a work network like Wi-Fi or they pay for the data and call time via an ISP (Internet Service Provider).

Why Do Employers Monitor Activity on a Company Phone?

There are several reasons employers monitor their employees’ phone activity when they use a company phone. They want to protect themselves from their employees’ actions and monitor their productivity during working hours.

One of the big reasons for internet monitoring is that employers want to protect their company from lawsuits. If the employee is using a company phone then the company has access to all their information and can use it in a dispute.

Another reason they monitor the internet activity on company phones is to check that their employees are not acting illegally.

This includes downloading or viewing inappropriate or illegal content on the work phone. These activities can put the company at risk.

With the recent events, many employees had to and still are working remotely. Companies feel that monitoring the internet activity on their employees’ work phones ensures they are being productive.

How Can My Employer Track My Internet Activity on My Phone?

Whether the company phone is an iPhone or an Android device, companies can see your internet activity. Although, the method they use may differ.

I will discuss the most common ways that companies are monitoring your internet activity and other phone activity.

Monitoring Internet Activity With an App

There are tons of apps that have been launched to help employers track internet activity on their employee’s phones and other devices. I will discuss some of the trending apps here. I will also break down their features.

An example of an app that is being used to track employee’s phone activity is mSpy. The mobile version is called mLite Phone Tracker. It is can be used for both iPhone and Android devices. Their features include tracking all browser history.

Spyic is another app that is available for iPhones and Android devices. It includes data monitoring such as browser tracking, social apps, keylogging, and more.

It also boasts 100% undetectability and is used by creating an account and connecting with the employees’ device.

Monitoring Internet Activity Through the Company’s Network

Companies can easily track your internet activity when your phone is connected to their network. Many companies install internet filters. An example is Barracuda Web Security Gateway.

Not only can it monitor your internet activity but it also provides features that control the websites and applications that you have access to. Employers can also use Website monitoring tools.

If the number individuals use for their work phone was provided by the company too, then the company can request all your internet activity from the ISP (Internet Service Provider).

Can You Use Your Phone if Disconnected?

This is because it is considered their property and ISPs have access to all the internet activity on the device.

Can My Employer Monitor Personal Email?

Whether your employer can monitor your personal email depends. The factors to consider are: whether the device you are using is a company device or a personal device or whether you are using a company email address or personal one.

I will discuss these factors in more detail in the next sections.

Private Emails on Company Device

With individual’s personal email accounts, employers have less rights to read their emails let alone access them. However, when the email account is on a work device such as a company phone or laptop, it becomes easier for employers to do so. This is true if they have administrative control over the device.

The same applications that allow employers to monitor employees’ internet activity on company devices also allow email monitoring.

It is, however, considered unethical for employers to check their employees’ personal emails on company devices.

One should bear in mind that if they are using a device that is provided by the company, employers have the ability to see their personal emails.

They can do this regardless of whether employees are using the Web to check their emails or an email application on their phone, laptop, or other devices.

Company Emails on a Private or Work Device

If the company has provided their employee with a company email address, then they will be able to see the employee’s personal emails.

This is true regardless of whether the employee accessing their company email using their private or work device.

This is because the company owns the email address and so they may access these emails regardless of whether they are sent in a business or private capacity.

Private Emails With Company Network

This is one of the trickiest areas to navigate because personal emails sent on the company network can be seen if the network is being monitored. This is the case if the company has installed a network monitoring solution.

If it is in the company’s interest, employers may try to read your personal emails.

This might happen when an employee sends a sensitive work document to their personal email, communicates about company-related business via their personal email, or any other reason pertaining to company policy is broken.

How to Keep My Employer From Monitoring My Personal Emails

The best thing to do to avoid falling into any of these traps is to keep your business and private emails separate. Avoid setting up your work email on your personal phone. If you must access it with your personal phone, rather login from the Web.

If you are using a company phone, avoid sending or accessing private emails on the device completely. Rather use a personal device to do so.

Lastly. Avoid accessing your personal email when you are connected to the company’s network. Following these tips should prevent your personal emails from being monitored.

Can My Employer Monitor My Social Media?

Your employer can definitely monitor your social media and most companies give social media policies to their employees. This has been quite a hot topic during the 21st century because social media has grown immensely.

In fact, 3.96 billion people currently use social media worldwide, up almost double from 2.07 billion in 2015.

With the sharp increase in social media users, a new question of ethics came to the mind: How many people are using social media during work hours? This concerns employers because it is believed to decrease productivity.

Additional concerns are how many people are using company devices and the company’s network to browse and post on their social media? I will talk about these here and how your employer can monitor your social media.

Computer Monitoring

Many of the tools I spoke about earlier that employers can use to track internet and email activity includes social media monitoring. An example of such a tool is a Computer Monitoring System called Easemon. It works on both Mac and Windows PCs.

Additionally, it allows employers and companies to continue monitoring their employees’ social media usage even in incognito or privacy mode. It also allows detailed monitoring that includes chats on social media. This shows that it is possible for employers to monitor all aspects of their employees’ social media.

Network Monitoring

Any activity that goes through the company’s network can be seen. It does not matter if you clear your browser and browse in private mode. Employers are also legally allowed to monitor their employees’ social media activity on work devices.

If you are using a mobile device with an ISP that the company pays for then they have access to all your activity, including social media.

The same goes for company internet connections. Employers can easily request information on what employees are doing using the internet.

There are also apps that can be used. Net Monitor, for example, is an app that companies can use to monitor employees’ internet activity.

This app has even been designed with a Cloud solution so that they can monitor employees’ social media activity when they work remotely.

The only time your social media cannot be monitored is when you are using your own network and device.

Can My Employer Monitor My GPS Tracking?

GPS is known as the Global Positioning System. This means that it can be used to determine an individual’s location. Most of us feel very uncomfortable when we think about someone tracking our every move.

Realistically, employers can monitor your GPS tracking. Also, is that they are legally allowed to do so in certain instances. I will discuss these next and then I will mention some of the common methods that employers may use for GPS tracking.

When Is My Employer Allowed to Monitor My GPS Tracking?

Sometimes employers may legally monitor their employee’s GPS tracking. The most important thing, however, is that employers must get their employee’s consent to do so. Additionally, they may track them for business-related purposes.

Such purposes include when their employee’s job requires them to travel for business purposes, when employees use a company car, employees work remotely, or employers want to monitor employees’ working hours to make sure they are accurate.

Employers shouldn’t monitor their employees’ GPS tracking after business hours or for personal interests. Tracking needs to be strictly from a business perspective and in the interest of the business.

It is also good for employees to be aware of the company’s policies relating to GPS tracking.

How Can My Employer Monitor My GPS Tracking?

Employers can track their employees from their mobile devices, laptops, or cars. All of these have a GPS tracking system that makes it possible to detect one’s location. I will explain how each one is tracked.

If an employee is using a business phone then there is a good chance that their employer can track them. This can be done using an app. Some apps can track individual’s locations even if the data connection is turned off.

Phones can also be tracked when their data connection is on by connecting to nearby phone towers. This is how GPS tracking works. Employers can view which towers the business phone connects with to find determine their employee’s location.

Laptops are tracked in the same way that business phones are tracked. With both GPS tracking or an app. Again, it is easier for employers to track employees when they provided them with a business laptop.

Finally, an employer can monitor an employee’s GPS tracking with a company car. GPS systems are often installed. Employers can then track the vehicle using a Web-based app. The GPS will connect to nearby towers and these will show on the app.

phone employer

How Should You Use Your Business Phone?

Our phones are so vital for our daily functioning; both business and personal use. Most people get frustrated using two phones so they often use their company phone as their personal phone too. We know what we should and shouldn’t do but it’s not always possible.

Sometimes we have valid reasons for using our company phone for private stuff during working hours. What really makes a difference is the company’s policies regarding how we are allowed to use our work phones.

Companies’ work phone policies often restrict internet usage and gaming on the device during work hours.

They may also restrict using a personal phone for work tasks or work phones for personal tasks, recording sensitive information with a work phone, using a company phone while driving, and using the phone during meetings.

These are just some examples of some common policies regarding the usage of company phones.

It is important to note that some companies are not as rigid with their policies and don’t mind if their employees use their business phones for personal tasks, within reason.

The best thing to do is familiarise yourself with the company policy. This will help to know what is acceptable and what is not. Here I will discuss how you should use your business phone and what to avoid doing with it.

Obviously, your business phone is mainly for work purposes. So, what do these include? I will break them down here.

Using It for Internet Access

It is great to benefit from hours of browsing without having to pay for the data usage. It is not a good idea, though. While most companies allow their employers to use the internet in a personal capacity, there are limitations.

Don’t use it during working hours, don’t search for or download malicious or inappropriate material, and don’t overdo it.

Remember, even if you are accessing the internet in your personal time, employers can still monitor your activity.

Using It for Social Media

Accessing social media with a work phone, for example, is acceptable for individuals who deal with their company’s marketing purposes or social media management.

Additionally, most employers are okay with their employees using a company device for social media but this is usually restricted to after work hours.

If their policy is strict and prohibits personal use entirely, then it is good to avoid using a business phone for private social media.

Using It for Email

Loading a company email on the work phone is also acceptable and helps individuals to be responsive.

Many companies don’t have issues with employees adding their personal emails on their phones either, but remember these can be tracked. It is probably best to avoid doing so.

Using It for Calls

It may seem that internet browsing and email access are the most important functions of a business phone. However, making and receiving calls can be equally important in certain industries.

Using a business phone to make calls is therefore acceptable.

One should look at the policy though. As I mentioned earlier, some companies require business phones to be on silent during meetings and some have periods of restricting calls.

Most companies also allow private use in the case of personal crises or emergencies.

The Bottom Line

It is helpful when a company provides a company phone, laptop, or car. This often helps employees to save costs and increases their reliability in the workplace.

It is important, however, that individuals remember their employer can track their activity and that they should limit the personal use of company property if they want to keep their privacy.