Ed McNicholas Discusses AI Monitoring and Corporate Compliance in The Wall Street Journal

In The News
April 24, 2023

According to a survey by Pew Research Center, Americans overwhelming oppose AI tracking their work activity and believe AI will have a major impact on them personally. An unrelated 2019 Gartner study showed that more than half of large corporations were doing some type of nontraditional employee monitoring.

In a Wall Street Journal article, data, privacy, and cybersecurity partner and practice co-leader Ed McNicholas commented on the various tools companies are using to monitor employee emails and detect potentially inappropriate behavior, including requests to move conversations offline.

“Companies can, for example, monitor communications for signs of abusive or harassing language,” said Ed, but “the rules concerning AI use in the workplace can differ by jurisdiction because of privacy laws, which tend to be more stringent in the European Union than in most of the U.S.”

“Businesses using AI face a sometimes-tricky task of applying the technology to tackle undesirable behavior without being seen as overly intrusive. AI can, though, in theory offer a less intrusive way for companies to check in on workers, leaving most of the monitoring work to software in the background,” he said.

“It could expand the capacity to do surveillance in a more respectful way that is sensitive to worker privacy,” Ed said, “or it could expand the capacity to do surveillance in a way that is creepy.”