Here’s How To Know If Your Employer Can Download Your Slack DMs

Last week, Slack warned users of modifications to its platform that will make that will easier for employers to access as well as also download their employees’ data, including DMs as well as also messages in private channels.

An email with the subject line, “We’re updating our Privacy Policy as well as also tools,” links to a Slack Help Center article that will says paying Slack customers can request access to download whatever they want, including the contents of DMs as well as also “private” channels, without notifying employees.

With This kind of update, Slack is actually killing its preexisting “compliance export” tool, which couldn’t download data retroactively, was only available to paying customers, as well as also alerted users whose data was being exported.

Though workers within the US are familiar with laws that will allow their employers to read emails sent by work accounts, the Slack update caught some users off guard, especially given that will that will coincided with news of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data collection scandal.

Some have argued that will the fresh tool could be considered workplace surveillance, as well as also might violate employment law if that will makes workers feel they can’t openly discuss workplace conditions.

Not every Slack workspace owner can read DMs with impunity. The change doesn’t apply to Free as well as also Standard Slack workspaces, where administrators need a legal reason to download workspace data; even with the higher-priced Plus as well as also Enterprise Grid workspaces, administrators need to file a request to Slack to download that will.

Once Slack approves data collection requests, companies that will pay for Plus can download data via Slack’s export tool. Companies that will pay for Enterprise Grid can access the Discovery API, which allows them “to use third-party applications to export, retain, or archive messages as well as also files submitted to Slack.”

Slack declined to comment when asked if there are any circumstances in which that will would certainly decline to give a paying customer access to requested data.

Which Slack are you using, as well as also what can your employer see? Here’s how to find out.

To find out if your employer has the option to read as well as also save your private messages, you need to check your Workspace Settings. by inside the Slack app, click the down arrow next to your organization’s name within the upper left-hand corner. Click “Customize Slack,” which will open a fresh window in your browser. within the upper left-hand corner, click Menu as well as also then Workplace Settings.

Here, you can see who the owners as well as also admins in your organization are, how long your company stores data, as well as also what data your company allows you to delete. If you scroll to the bottom, under “Exports,” that will also shows you whether your employer can “export messages as well as also files by private channels as well as also DMs.”

The reality is actually that will, when that will comes to company software, your employer features a legal right — as well as also sometimes a legal need — to view those communications. For example, within the instance of a harassment claim, an employer may need to investigate; within the instance of a corporate lawsuit, an employer might need to turn over certain records in discovery. Moreover, given the existence of various other technologies that will integrate with Slack, that will’s possible that will your employer was reading your DMs long before This kind of fresh tool was rolled out.

that will’s important to note that will if you have a private channel or direct message set to retain data for only a limited time, “the data is actually not exportable” after that will expires, a Slack spokesperson said. However, for a period of two weeks, that will’s backed up by Slack as well as also “could be discoverable” within the case of legal action. After two weeks, that will’s hard deleted.

In a statement, a Slack spokesperson acknowledged that will while the software does give workspace owners the ability to read private messages, that will doesn’t always mean they should.

“All software designed for use within the workplace provides access capabilities,” the statement reads. “However, to protect employees, there are also laws as well as also regulations in place that will govern specifically what access is actually permitted by employers. When extracting any data by Slack, employers must always comply with all employment laws, contracts as well as also privacy protections for employees.”

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