Can My Employer View My Browsing History?

There are some legitimate reasons for employers to monitor their employees, including avoiding theft and making sure their employees’ online acidity does not do harm to the company. Other reasons may be more contested, such as tracking employees’ activity to ensure that they are using their time productively.

In a survey conducted by Malwarebytes, 52.6 percent of participants said they sent or received personal emails from a work device, with another 37.8 percent saying they had shopped online, and 25 percent saying they checked their social media. With how common it is to use work devices and office WiFi for personal tasks, this guide aims to explain whether your boss can see this internet activity, as well as what you can do about it. 

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Can my employer track my browsing history?

Frustratingly, the answer is potentially. Your employer might be able to see your browsing history using remote employee monitoring software, or through simply checking your browser history. This is possible when you use your office’s WiFi network. 

Although the law does not allow your employer to monitor your personal browsing history, they can still look at the internet history of your work devices. 

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Can my employer see my browsing history at home?

If you use a device owned by your company and occasionally connect to the company’s network, it is possible that your employer is gaining access to online activity you were doing on this device at home while connected to your home’s WiFi.

The rise of remote work has begun to raise complicated issues about worker monitoring. Factors that complicate worker monitoring include whether they are working from personal devices, and whether they are using a VPN.

Whether it is legal or not where you are based, it is possible for your employer to track your activity on even your personal device if it is connected to the company’s network.

 

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Can my employer see my browsing history on my phone when I use it at work?

Yes, if you are using your work’s WiFi network, your employer can track your internet activity regardless of which device you choose to use. They will be able to see all the activity on the company’s network, including that which was conducted on any personal devices connected to the network. 

If you use your mobile phone at work and do not want to be monitored, use your mobile data. When you use your mobile data, your employer will not be able to track your internet history. 

 

Can my boss read my email?

These days, many employers routinely check their employees’ emails, with some companies even using software that forwards emails entering and leaving their employees’ accounts to their managers.

When you use your work computer on any network, or any device on your company’s network, your employer can read your emails. If you are sending emails through a work email account, your employer can also read anything entering or leaving that account. 

Some employers even use keylogger software that allows them to view their employees’ drafts or deleted emails. 

If you use your company network to access your personal emails, your employer may be able to access and read these emails, but the legality of this remains in question. 

 

Can my boss read my text messages?

Whether or not your boss can read your text messages depends on the device you choose to send the message from – choose wisely!

Can my employer read text messages on a company phone?

If you are using a mobile phone provided by your company, then yes, your employer may have the right to monitor it, and any text messages sent from it. This means that any and all text communications sent from your company device could be viewed by your boss.

The same isn’t true for text messages sent from personal devices.

Can employers read text messages on a personal phone?

While employers may have the right to monitor and read messages sent from a company phone, your employer is not allowed to monitor text conversations that you have on your personal device. 

 

Can employers read slack messages?

Yes, messages sent via Slack can be read by your employer. Your employer can read any Slack messages and private IMs, even if you are speaking to someone else, or even to someone who works at another company entirely. Even your private Slack messages may be read by your employer.

These messages, including private Slack messages, can be accessed and read by your boss by simply downloading and exporting them into ZIP files. Keep this in mind for all future Slack comms!

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Can my boss see my passwords?

If you store your passwords on either your work device, or on a personal device that you use to connect to the company network, then yes, your employer may be able to see your passwords if they go looking for them. Your employer will have access to your passwords stored on devices connected to the company network, as well as any administrator or IT staff who might monitor the activity on their network. 

However, it would be extremely unethical for your boss or colleagues to record or use these passwords.

 

What should I avoid storing on my work computer?

You should never store inappropriate materials on your work computer. Anything you are not comfortable with your boss seeing, or things that would be inappropriate for your boss to see, you should avoid storing on your work computer. 

You should also try to avoid storing any personal information on your work computer. Try and do all your personal activity on a separate device, and avoid storing the following on your work computer:

  • Job applications
  • Passwords
  • Bank information
  • Private information

 

How can I prevent my boss from seeing my internet history?

The easiest way to prevent your employer from seeing your browsing history is to assume that your employer is monitoring all your online activity and conduct yourself accordingly. Do not view anything or store anything on your work devices that you would not want your employer knowing about. 

Another way to prevent your boss from seeing your internet history is to use a VPN. A VPN encrypts all your internet activity, so all your employer will be able to see is your VPN server’s IP address and some incoherent data. 

 

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