How to monitor your employees' Android phone legally?

Perhaps the biggest data leak of the history enacted by an “insider” was Edward Snowden’s appropriation and leakage of the National Security Agency's data. This case surely demonstrated the cost of focusing on external threats only, excluding all internal threats and bad actors. In the aftermath, companies are now more interested in finding effective and sophisticated technologies to prevent data breaches. Plus, monitoring the employees add on the productivity and performance of the employees. Before using any employee monitoring methodology, there are a few key questions every employer must consider: Whom are you monitoring? What are you monitoring? And, where are you monitoring? Answering these key questions can help employers in implementing proactive protections, such as monitoring the employees' phone legally by using a monitoring app. Before deploying such technologies, employers must consider and perform up-front legal analysis.

Monitor employee android phone legally

Is employee monitoring legal?

This is a never-ending debate, and the answers are diverse in nature. Different countries have different types of privacy rules, which is why an employer must consider legal aspects of monitoring an employee's phone. Well, if you intend to monitor the personal phone of an employee, this could be a legal issue. On the other hand, if you want to monitor a company-issued phone to your employee, then it is legally possible. To avoid any legal issues, just make sure that your employees know that they are being tracked.

Broadly, in the United States, employee monitoring is legal. However, the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act doesn't allow unauthorized interception of digital and electronic communication, the law exempts business employers who provide email and internet access. As the employer owns the computer system provided to the employees, they may listen to, watch, and read employees' workplace communication and, in some case, personal messages. The “business purpose exception” enables employers to monitor employees’ electronic communications only if the employer has a “legitimate business purpose” for the monitoring.

The ECPA has specific provisions for few titles stated as, “Title 1 provides exceptions for operators and service providers for uses "in the normal course of his employment while engaged in any activity which is a necessary incident to the rendition of his service" and for "persons authorized by law to intercept wire, oral, or electronic communications or to conduct electronic surveillance.”

Plus, there is no U.S. federal law that requires employers to notify their workers they are being monitored. However, it is a best practice to inform employees of the company beforehand. Alerting an employee, the company’s right to monitor can also act as a natural deterrent.

Why should you monitor your employees’ Android phone?

Depending on your business, monitoring or tracking employees’ phone can have various advantages. There are a few common reasons why you should monitor your employee’s Android Phone:

  • Employers can ensure the right usage of the phone as the employees can use the company-provided phone to make personal calls, too.
  • Employers can track the GPS location of the employee to determine if they are really out for official or personal work.
  • Employers can determine if employees are breaching any confidential information about their business.
  • Employees can be more productive if they know their activities are being monitored.
  • Employers can spot employee strengths and give positive feedback to them.

Things you must consider before monitoring

Learn the general law

As aforementioned, the federal law in the U.S doesn’t allow electronic communication interception. However, it only exempts employers to monitor an employee’s use of its own device only if there is a legitimate business need. These business needs can include: improving customer services, ensuring employees’ performance, and preventing harassment.

Learn the state law

Mostly, state laws provide more protection to the employees as compared to federal law. For this very reason, you must thoroughly research your particular state's law on monitoring employee phones, as each state has different law on the interception of communication. For instance, in California, there is a rule to have a beep at regular intervals on a monitored conversation, or there must be a message stating that the call is being monitored.

Get your employees’ consent

If you could get a written employee consent on monitoring their devices, you can track even without a business exemption. It basically notifies the employees that their own and company-provided devices will be tracked. You can include your monitoring requirements in your contract and even provide a flyer to each employee that they can keep with them for more details.

Outline a privacy policy

Of course, your employees’ information is as much important to you as your business data. Therefore, you must outline who can access the monitored information and under what circumstances. In the privacy policy, you must clearly state that you will not access their phone information after working hours, and most importantly, mention that you will take care of your employees’ privacy.

What should you monitor?

1. Monitor only equipment owned by your company

To be on the safer side, it is better to provide your employees with phones. On the other hand, if you don't provide them with company devices, it is better to clearly and carefully mention in the policy that employees' personal devices will be tracked, too.

2. Avoid monitoring private emails

If your employee uses a private email account, you must protect the privacy of your employee by not reading those emails. Although the law is in flux, you must protect yourself from indulging into serious privacy issues. Otherwise, it is better to state the clause clearly in the privacy policy that their personal email accounts used on the company’s phone will be monitored.

3. Avoid monitoring private conversations

While listening to a call, as soon as you realize that the call is personal, you must stop listening to the call as the federal law prohibits it. However, if you find out that your employees are using the work cell phone for personal usage, you can strictly ask them to use it for work purposes only.

4. Clarify your privacy policy to your employees

Clearly state the privacy policy in the employee manual, employee contract, and other official documents mentioning that employees shouldn't have any expectation of privacy while using workplace phones. You must clarify that this includes emails, telephone calls, and other information.

How to monitor your employees’ Android phone legally?

After considering all possible legal aspects related to employee monitoring, the main question arises how you can actually monitor your employee’s Android phone. There are various employee monitoring apps available in the market, you can simply pick one to track your employee’s Android phone. But, before making any buying decision, you need to do basic research work to find the best app that suits your budget and monitoring requirements. Here are a few things you must take into consideration:

  • Compatibility – which Android devices does an app support
  • Pricing plans – How affordable is it?
  • Ease of functionality – Is it easy to use?
  • Available features – Does it have all the features you are looking for?
  • Performance – Does it work alright or are there any bugs?

Most businesses normally want an employee monitoring app that’s affordable, easy to setup and has all the necessary features. Keeping that in mind, our recommendation, our recommendation for you is Xnspy.

Xnspy has been designed to monitor a phone with no intrusion at all. With this powerful and non-intrusive mobile monitoring app, you can monitor your employees’ mobile activities as well as their GPS locations.

To get started, here is a step-by-step guide for a hassle-free installation:

Step 1: Check Compatibility

Monitor employee android phone legally

The first and foremost step is to ensure the compatibility of Xnspy and the target phone of your employee that you want to monitor. Xnspy’s works great with all Android devices running between Android 4.0 and 9.0. Unless your employees are using decade-old Android devices, compatibility wouldn’t be an issue.

Step 2: Get your subscription

Monitor employee android phone legally

Decide the number of employees you need to monitor and then buy the number of Xnspy subscriptions accordingly. Xnspy comes in two different plans, Basic and Premium, and three billing options (monthly, quarterly, and yearly). For the Basic Xnspy version, you will need to pay a monthly subscription of $29.99; $41.99 for a quarter or $59.99 for a year. For the Premium Xnspy version, you will be charged $35.99 per month or $59.99 per quarter and $89.99 per year.

Step 3: Download and Installation

Monitor employee android phone legally

To install the monitoring app, you will need physical access to the Android phone of your employee. After the subscription, you will receive a confirmation email containing a download link and your Xnspy account credentials.

Step 4: Log in to your Xnspy dashboard

Monitor employee android phone legally

Once you are done with the installation, finish the setup by logging in to your Xnspy web-based control panel by using the provided account credentials. After installation, Xnspy takes a few hours to fetch all the information from the monitored Android phone.

You just don't have to scroll through the plethora of information, rather Xnspy categories all the gathered information and shows you different tabs for each section, including Phone Logs, Messenger, Installed Apps, Locations, Photos, Record Surround, and many others. You could also customize your Xnspy features and alerts depending on your monitoring needs. Some of the features you get with Xnspy include:

  • Monitor your employees’ calls or text messages.
  • Monitor social media of your employees (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, iMessage chats, Viber, Instagram, Kik Messenger, Tinder Messages, and Skype Chats).
  • Track location history of your employees.
  • Get exclusive actuarial reports containing the top 5 frequent callers, top 5 call durations, top 10 frequently-visited websites, and a weekly punch card showing all the calls with their time and duration for every hour of the day.
  • Track online habits of your employees by reading their emails and checking their web browsing history.
  • Listen to phone calls and even the surroundings of your employee.
  • Access all the multimedia files, calendar entries, and to-do lists
  • Get 24/7 instant alerts for specific contacts, words, and locations
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