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Microsoft 365 will change after criticism that a new function was the "greater surveillance system in the workplace"

A few days ago, David Heinemeier Hansson (DHH), founder of Basecamp, accused Microsoft of launching the "surveillance system in the most invasive workplace known to date", in reference to the functionality presented by Microsoft for Microsoft 365, called 'Productivity Score'.

The criticism came because this productivity measurement tool allowed us to know the employment data of people with names and surnames. An employer could see how much time an employee spends sending emails or using company chat. The criticisms were huge from different fronts, and that is that the functionality could even be illegal in some countries. Microsoft did not respond directly to comments made on this matter, but has now retracted somewhat from the implementation of the functionality.


Goodbye to usernames

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From Microsoft they state that they have "listened to feedback and are responding today by making changes to the product to further strengthen customer privacy"." We believe that privacy is a human right and we are deeply committed to the privacy of all people who use our products, "they added. Regarding the specific changes to Microsoft Productivity Score, the company announced the following:

  • Usernames of workers using Microsoft 365 will be removed. Now, after having previously announced that you could see all the actions associated with a user in a period of 28 days. However, now Microsoft says that in response to the criticism ("last week's comments"), they will remove the feature, and from now on, the Productivity Store will only add data at the organization level, not the user level.

One troublesome fact is that the data anonymizer existed, but was disabled by default.

  • Too make changes to the Productivity Score interface to make it clear that the score it returns does not correspond to individual productivity of each person, but reflects "the organizational adoption of technology." They claim that it was "never designed to score individual users", something they will now clarify.

With the arrival of teleworking they made me install a program to monitor what I do with my laptop

Other parts of the product, they claim, do not include usernames. And they fall back on the idea of ​​change: "This change will ensure that the productivity score cannot be used to monitor individual employees." We will have to wait to see how everything is. The changes mentioned fit in what was asked of Microsoft, and in the company that is lately, compared to what its critics say it was before.

More information | Microsoft