I'm new here and seeking some advice. Thanks in advance for answers.

I am a city employee here where I live in Tennessee.

A co-worker, who is not an administrator, has gained access to the companies security cameras through his friend in the IT department. He is using this access to log on to the computer at work and his personal PC at home to spy on co-workers and myself to see what we are doing hoping to get us in trouble. I was wondering if this activity is unethical? To make things worse he is the boss's buddy and seems to do no wrong in his eyes. Again, thanks for any and all advice.

  • 1
    Related meta: meta.workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/82/…
    – Lumberjack
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 22:37
  • 1
    I don't think changing illegal to unethical is going to fix this question. In most jurisdictions, this will need legal advice to resolve.
    – HorusKol
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 22:40
  • 2
    @Lumberjack - the workplace implications are that it is probably illegal, and therefore needs legal advice...
    – HorusKol
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 22:46
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    If nothing else the guy is wasting time if that is not his job.
    – paparazzo
    Commented May 20, 2016 at 4:11
  • 2
    Disgusting. Get out of there ASAP
    – AndreiROM
    Commented May 20, 2016 at 13:18

1 Answer 1


It is unethical for him. Maybe it is acceptable for the company at large to spy on you and your coworkers, but unless it is explicitly in his job description to conduct surveillance on you, what he is doing to you is unethical and possibly illegal. At the very least that looks like a case of micromanagement.

As what you can do about it, besides consulting a lawyer, or finding a new job (his surveillance can certainly make an employee paranoid) you/your coworkers can tell the HR about his (suspected) activities, safely and discreetly. Then ask for some advice. But be careful. Be certain that they are on your side first. And be careful how you say it. Make sure you do not come across as accusing the administrator of spying or invading your privacy.

Meanwhile, what you can do is to not login any of your personal accounts to your computer. If you already have, log them out and erase the cache. That fellow may hold the information in that against you.

Do not use your company workstation to view sites that had nothing to do with your job, such as confession blogs, dating sites.

If you are a developer or designer, do not visit YouTube with your workstation, even to watch tutorials. Those kind of fellows tend to assume that you're watching non-work-related videos.

Do not search for terms that had nothing to do with your work using your workstation. The administrator might use the search information to advance his agenda.

Log out this account of yours from the same workstation.

View your personal accounts out of reach of the cameras. Do it outside the building if you have to.

Check out the questions posted in the comments as well.

  • 2
    Its also unethical (and gross misconduct) for the person that gave this person unauthorized access
    – Pepone
    Commented May 22, 2016 at 12:21

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