There, but not really

At the beginning of the pandemic, some very creative young people figured out how to record a desktop video and have it loop during their virtual classes. It seems that the idea was also found to be useful in professional spaces, likely by people tired of sitting through online meetings. The idea caught on, at least until people started getting caught.

Years ago when Microsoft Teams was just starting to be an office must-have, my work team was relying on the status indicator in the chat application to know whether someone was available for work communication. Most of the time, I would leave my status as available (green), unless somone became particularly chatty and I would initiate a phone call to save my typing fingers.

Microsoft Teams User Interface

Sometimes, I would type messages to my team members, wait for a reply and eventually walk over or call if I did not receive a timely reply. I noticed that I often arrive at one person’s desk and he would never be there. I always assumed that he had just walked away minutes before.

Later, I found out that this particular colleague would rarely be at his desk, and in fact, would often be out of the building. His computer would appear to be in use but he would not be locatable.

Microsoft Teams Status Indicator

So what was going on? He would play media files on his PC to trick the Teams presence monitor into believing that he was at his computer. His manager figured out what he was doing and it was used as part of the evidence to terminate him.

Today there is yet another method to fool any presence monitoring software. They are called Mouse Movers Apparently, they are being used to evade employer surveillance. Also known as Mouse Jigglers,they are the latest tool in the battle against “big brother.”

In case you’re interested, please note that these gadgets are rather pricey. The one above retails for $62.00. If you do not want to purchase a mouse mover/jiggler, I suppose you can find other alternatives to help you appear there, when you are not really there…

Pet mouse pusher

Anything interesting in your work at home toolbox? Send me an email and I will post about your find. As always, I am happy to report on the latest technolo-gee,—I didn’t know I could do that!

Published by Be better.

Working on social and economic progress.

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