Can my work laptop spy on me?

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To start of, I’m not a tech person in the least. I work remotely for an insurance company. I don’t do anything on my work computer that I wouldn’t want my employer to know about. However, I do notice that when I Google something on my work computer, I immediately start getting ads for the product on my personal iPhone (they are on the same Wi-Fi, but I’ve never plugged any personal devices into my laptop). I’m curious how this happens and whether my employer may be able to see other things my family does at home. Are there any things I should or shouldn’t do to protect my privacy?

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12 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

I immediately start getting ads for the product on my personal iPhone

This is because they’re on the same wifi. When you hit a site they know what IP you came from and can use that to target content. Everything on your home wifi is using the same IP.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I immediately start getting ads for the product on my personal iPhone

This is because they’re on the same wifi. When you hit a site they know what IP you came from and can use that to target content. Everything on your home wifi is using the same IP.

Anonymous 0 Comments

So, two questions here.

Yes, your work laptop can spy on you. Programs that monitor your internet usages, keystrokes, even your webcam/microphone exist. Whether or not your company uses them I don’t know, but they _might_.

The Google ad is unrelated. Google knows that someone at your IP address looked up something (i.e. they are interested in it) so they start playing related ads to anyone at that IP, hoping to get you to click on the ad related to what you find interesting. This is **not** something your employer is doing.

Your employer won’t know what anyone else on your IP address is doing.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I think you are accidentally asking two questions: can your work laptop spy on you (and report back to my employer what I’m doing)? And: can Google connect what I do on my work laptop to what I do on my personal iPhone? The answer to both is yes.

Yes, employers can and do install software to monitor what you do. Many employers, for example, install software to block certain kinds of web sites like those with porn or known malware. They may also log every web site you visit. There have been news reports of employers installing key loggers – everything you type gets reported to your employer. They can do this, and it is probably legal.

Yes, Google can EASILY connect what you do on your work laptop to what you do on your phone. Especially if you log in when using Google’s services. Being on the same wifi will also do. The ability of Google to uniquely identify you, even when you use different devices, cannot be overstated. It is technically trivial. Assume that if you use Google on a device for any length of time Google will know it’s you.

Anonymous 0 Comments

So your work laptop absolutely can and likely does “spy on you”. If your employer is halfway competent, then your device will have special software and settings that prevent you from installing unauthorized programs, or browsing certain websites, or accidently downloading a virus. These programs typically notify your employer’s IT team if an attempt at doing something you’re not supposed to is made.

Your employer is not monitoring your home computer, and the ads that you get wouldn’t have anything to do with the monitoring software used by your organization.

Anonymous 0 Comments

So your work laptop absolutely can and likely does “spy on you”. If your employer is halfway competent, then your device will have special software and settings that prevent you from installing unauthorized programs, or browsing certain websites, or accidently downloading a virus. These programs typically notify your employer’s IT team if an attempt at doing something you’re not supposed to is made.

Your employer is not monitoring your home computer, and the ads that you get wouldn’t have anything to do with the monitoring software used by your organization.

Anonymous 0 Comments

So, two questions here.

Yes, your work laptop can spy on you. Programs that monitor your internet usages, keystrokes, even your webcam/microphone exist. Whether or not your company uses them I don’t know, but they _might_.

The Google ad is unrelated. Google knows that someone at your IP address looked up something (i.e. they are interested in it) so they start playing related ads to anyone at that IP, hoping to get you to click on the ad related to what you find interesting. This is **not** something your employer is doing.

Your employer won’t know what anyone else on your IP address is doing.

Anonymous 0 Comments

I think you are accidentally asking two questions: can your work laptop spy on you (and report back to my employer what I’m doing)? And: can Google connect what I do on my work laptop to what I do on my personal iPhone? The answer to both is yes.

Yes, employers can and do install software to monitor what you do. Many employers, for example, install software to block certain kinds of web sites like those with porn or known malware. They may also log every web site you visit. There have been news reports of employers installing key loggers – everything you type gets reported to your employer. They can do this, and it is probably legal.

Yes, Google can EASILY connect what you do on your work laptop to what you do on your phone. Especially if you log in when using Google’s services. Being on the same wifi will also do. The ability of Google to uniquely identify you, even when you use different devices, cannot be overstated. It is technically trivial. Assume that if you use Google on a device for any length of time Google will know it’s you.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Something like this happened to me after talking about a portable pop up sauna given to me by a relative moving overseas.

I’ve never googled these things, never discussed it with anyone else except my brother, once, while in his car. Started getting ads for the things. I don’t use voice activation or voice search on my phone. It’s switched off as much as I can do so. It’s probably still listening though. It’s just been told it can’t use anything it hears. My brother uses his all the time. His phone heard me in his car and the ads tracked me down anyway. Utterly pointless since I already have one. So, both an amazing feat of technology and pointless stupidity at the same time.

Anonymous 0 Comments

Something like this happened to me after talking about a portable pop up sauna given to me by a relative moving overseas.

I’ve never googled these things, never discussed it with anyone else except my brother, once, while in his car. Started getting ads for the things. I don’t use voice activation or voice search on my phone. It’s switched off as much as I can do so. It’s probably still listening though. It’s just been told it can’t use anything it hears. My brother uses his all the time. His phone heard me in his car and the ads tracked me down anyway. Utterly pointless since I already have one. So, both an amazing feat of technology and pointless stupidity at the same time.