- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled Wednesday that Awareness Technologies, a company that makes the spyware program WebWatcher, can be sued for violating wiretap laws, according to CIO.
- Awareness Technologies sought to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming that WebWatcher only allows users to review targets' communications and does not allow them to intercept communications in real time.
- The court, however, rejected that claim, and said the plaintiff’s allegations "give rise to a reasonable inference" of that happening, Judge Ronald Lee Gilman wrote.
If it can be proven that WebWatcher allows communications to be intercepted in real-time, the ruling could have broader implications for the overall market of monitoring software. Awareness Technologies specifically markets WebWatcher as "monitoring software for parents and employers."
Dimitri Sirota, CEO and founder of BigID, told CIO that the ruling could even have implications for software-as-service companies. The case "raises the specter that a vendor could end up as a co-defendant if a user (company or individual) makes use of the software-as-service in an illegal way," Sirota said.
Employee monitoring has become a hot button issue, especially with the rise of BYOD. A June report from Bitglass found companies that use software to keep tabs on employee BYOD devices have the potential to gather significantly more user data than previously believed. The software may allow the company to see "where the phone is located, what apps are on the phone, and even what websites the user was accessing." Bitglass researchers were able to view personal email sent to employees through a number of apps. They were also able to see passwords to social media and bank accounts, according to the study.