VPNs and remote-desktop software have the same web-browsing monitoring as at a…
Although such software may feel intrusive, it is legal, and in some cases, your employer doesn’t need to tell you it’s running on an employer-issued computer. The EFF has a chart detailing which software has which features, if you’re interested. If this type of software is installed on your computer, avoid using that computer for anything personal, no matter how mundane that thing may seem. If an employer asks to install monitoring software on your personal device, ask for a work-provided device, if you can.
If you access your work computer through remote-desktop software such as Citrix, Splashtop, or TeamViewer, everything you do within the window of that application happens on the computer in your office. This means the IT department or company managers also have the same sort of computer access they have at a physical office. For most people, that means monitoring your internet browsing activity, but typically it also means they can see any files you’ve stored or documents you’re working on.
If you’re required to connect to a VPN, you’re funneling your entire internet connection through your work computer, but not anything else you do. In most cases, this means an employer can see high-level data about what websites you visit.
For remote desktops especially, treat them the same as you would if you were sitting at a desk in an office
If you’re required to use a VPN to connect to your office network, use the internet just as you would at your office computer. In both cases, avoid web browsing you wouldn’t want your employer to be privy to.
Didn’t I hear something about Zoom spying on me?
In early 2020, Zoom got some flack for features such as “attendee attention tracking” and the fact that some private messages were showing up in recordings. Both of those issues are fixed.
An administrator can still see some details of your Zoom usage, such as any recordings you’ve saved to the cloud, meeting names, and meeting participants.