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A new feature of Microsoft 365 is the "largest surveillance system in the workplace" according to the founder of Basecamp

David Heinemeier Hansson, creator of Ruby on Rails and founder of Basecamp, has accused Microsoft on Twitter from implement the "most invasive workplace surveillance system known to date". Hanson speaks here of a functionality recently added to Microsoft 365, dubbed 'Productivity Scores'.

The latter consists, fundamentally, of systems for measuring the productivity of an organization's employees based on your use of Microsoft's online suite tools.


The technology behind Productivity Scores (and, before that, other Microsoft products like Delve and MyAnalitics) is Microsoft Graph, the 'People API' that allows you to extract and work with labor data about people, as well as their interpersonal relationships and their activity with digital documents.

Controversial (and maybe illegal in some countries) functionality

Thus, an employer is able to even know data such as the amount of time your employees have spent emailing or using the company chat; data that the platform can use in turn to generate recommendations for the operation of the company based on said data.

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It is no wonder that dust was raised when the technology began to be publicized. Hansson even talks about "Destroy the reputation" Microsoft had built for itself of having become a better company in recent years:

  • Standardize worker surveillance to levels hardly seen until now. Company managers will be able to access all metrics without notifying affected users.

  • By default, allows you to view performance metrics at the individual level (including the names, group affiliations, and locations of each employee); the anonymization of such data is possible, but optional.


The Productivity Score data anonymizer, disabled by default ((Via: Wolfie Christl).

  • It allows Microsoft to affect the daily lives of millions of workers (and the same work culture of thousands of companies) thanks to its ability to enforce arbitrary metrics.

  • It also allows Microsoft collect data from employees of other companies, so that they can compare the productivity of their respective templates.


Comparison of Productivity Score of the data of a company and the average data of its sector. (Via: Wolfie Christl)

It is possible, on the other hand, that there are countries where this functionality cannot be used by companies, because there it conflicts with your labor laws.

Note: From Genbeta we have been in contact, so far without success, with Microsoft to find out their point of view. We will update the text to include it.

Via | Wolfie Christl (On twitter)