Disclaimer: I'm not asking for personal advide on that topic, it's more or less out of curiosity. For context, this is set in Germany.

A coworker of mine recently talked about her using the laptops (our company provides us for work) to do personal stuff at home. Stuff like surfing, online banking, youtube, shopping, etc.

I'm now wondering if this is a safe to do thing, or if the company can, for example, track what she was doing later on?

Edit: With a little research I just found out that the use of software like keyloggers seems to be illegal in Germany, if the person being monitored does not allow it explicitly (which we have not done). But what about other software, like tracking internet history or stuff like that.

  • This really depends on your exact situation. Did your company install any software on your company laptop? If so, they could have easily installed software that can monitor you. – forest May 15 '19 at 7:17
  • @forest We get these laptops pre-installed and pre-configured the day we start working. There are some programs installed, like a VPN, E-Mail, SAP and stuff like that. I'm not sure if there is any monitoring software on. How can I check that? – Suimon May 15 '19 at 7:21
  • Then it's very possible that it will monitor you. There is no easy way to tell if this is the case without digging very deep. I would avoid using it for personal things. – forest May 15 '19 at 7:22
  • @forest Please see my edit of the original post. Does that change something in this situation? – Suimon May 15 '19 at 7:30
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    First of all, you should never rely on the law to protect you. Second, how do you know you did not agree to it? It's very possible that you agreed in getting the job. – forest May 15 '19 at 7:31

If you do not own the device, assume that the owner can monitor everything you do on it.

Obviously the company can not monitor the traffic on the network since it does not pass through their network (unless you connect with a VPN). But there could be monitoring software installed on the computer, and your activity leaves traces that could be uncovered later through forensic analysis. Don't expect that you would be able to detect the monitoring, or clean up the traces.

There might be legal limits to what the company can do here, but I would not rely on them being strict enough. There might be loopholes, and laws may be broken. Just don't do stuff on your work computer that you don't want your boss to know about.

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