Cyber security or Cyber-espionage?

Has curiosity ever influenced you to scan your organizational policies and procedures thoroughly? Have you ever come across Information Security Policy or Surveillance Systems Policy also known as Workplace Surveillance Policies during those ventures? Has the presence of terms such as ‘covert surveillance’, ‘psychological manipulation’, and ‘social engineering’ in the afore-mentioned policies increased your anxiety levels?

Revisiting the definition of these terms not only clarify individuals’ comprehension but also assist those in understanding the magnitude of the issue under discussion, which is exploitation. Most reliable sources define psychological manipulation as the manipulators’ use of indirect or underhand methods to control the victims or influence them to take decisions that could lead to disastrous consequences, exploiting them mentally or/and emotionally. Social Engineering differs from psychological manipulation as the former gain confidential information through coercion. Deception is employed by the corporate psychopaths to compel the victims to obey their dictates through both online and offline systems.

While I am familiar with ‘Phishing scams’ that hackers use to gain banking or credit details and to control my computers and local network resources, ‘Pretexting’ and ‘Baiting’ are unfamiliar concepts to me. Pretexting, a social engineering form, steals victims’ personal information through the creation of fabricated/fake scenarios. For instance, hackers pretend to verify your identity details when they aspire to gather information about your savings, investments, and businesses. While it is not hard to guess the meaning of baiting, it is useful to know that the enticer lures victims to exchange information for lucrative offers.

Organizations justify their surveillance policies by emphasizing on the need to monitor the employees with the intention of preventing maladministration, corruption, and to protect equipment, resources, and data. Most find the justifications understandable, however covert surveillance through ‘Interguard’ or any other AI where the turn-off feature of surveillance after work hours is unavailable the need and the purpose of such direct surveillance or covert monitoring of employees’ movements, conversations, and other activities, and intrusive surveillance or covert monitoring using an eavesdropping device on residential premises or within a private vehicle are highly questionable. J. D. Nelson’s efforts to draw our attention to how employees feel about this in the video titled ‘The Ethics of Workplace Surveillance and Monitoring – Afternoon Panel’ within the timeslot 11:40 to 18:15 forces viewers to seriously consider amelioration.

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