Barclays faces investigation over spying software

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has launched a formal
investigation over Barclays’ use of productivity software to monitor its
employees.

The system tracked how long individual workers spent away from their
desks — including for toilet breaks — and the amount of time taken to
complete tasks.

City A.M. reported in February that the bank was piloting the Sapience
system, which in some instances admonished staff and told them to “avoid
breaks” if they were deemed not to have been active enough.

After uproar among the workforce and criticism from HR experts and
privacy campaigners, the bank said it was changing how it used the
software and would only track anonymised data.

Now, the Sunday Telegraph reports that Barclays is under investigation
by the privacy watchdog.

An ICO spokesman told the newspaper: “People expect that they can keep
their personal lives private and that they are also entitled to a degree
of privacy in the workplace. If organisations wish to monitor their
employees, they should be clear about its purpose and that it brings
real benefits.

“Organisations also need to make employees aware of the nature, extent
and reasons for any monitoring.”

If Barclays is found to have breached data privacy laws, it faces a fine
of up to £865m.