Microsoft Adjusts Monitoring Tool After Complaints
Microsoft is making adjustments to its Productivity Score. The tool came under fire last week when it emerged that it could be misused for employee surveillance.
The Productivity Score in Microsoft 365 officially allows companies to see how their organization uses Microsoft’s tools and where they can make adjustments or add technical support.
In practice, the tool counts, among other things, how many emails people send per day, and how long they spend on video calls, after which those scores are neatly stored per employee in a dashboard. It’s the kind of stuff that immediately leads to privacy questions, which happened last week.
Privacy activists indicated that a slightly evil-minded micromanager could use those individual scores to judge employees on the somewhat arbitrary productivity score. And that is not the intention, Microsoft now says in a new blog post.
“We’ve heard the feedback, and are now making adjustments to the product to preserve customer privacy,” Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365 wrote on the site.
User names, among other things, are being removed, and Microsoft says it wants to make it more apparent in the user interface that the system is about technological adoption, not about the behaviour of individual users.
Basically, it seems that the APIs will continue to exist, but that they are no longer shown as granular. Microsoft was quick to respond, but the whole thing shows how much the software collects (individual) data.