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Recently I began to bring my laptop to work for covenience because I have to move a lot. I know they can track what I do while using my desktop. But can they track my laptop as well? I am connected my office’s Wi-Fi obviously.

It’s not that I waste time surfing. But sometimes I do something else while taking a break like look at the news or watch some videos, I used to do it with my phone since I dont want them to see that. But by being connected to their Wi-Fi, can they track that?

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If your workplace offers a guest wireless network, you should use that. – LawrenceC Jun 19 '14 at 19:04
The key word here is “potential.” All systems of any kind anywhere has the potential to track user activity. Now how strict they are depends on the place. Generally most system administrators don’t care. I know since I have done this type of work for years. But here is the catch: If something goes crazy on the network a system administrator will jump into action and start to monitor traffic and activity like a hawk. So if you think your supervisor is watching all of your activity on a screen all day, I doubt that. But something goes awry while you are there, you potentially might get busted. – JakeGould Mar 6 at 0:35

3 Answers 3

Technical Aspect

Yes, anything you access through their network has the potential to be tracked, quantified, and filtered.

Company Aspect

When I did an internship at a company with a great I.T. department, I asked the sysadmin what kind of tracking he does on people’s web-surfing/emails/etc. He said that he really didn’t care about what people did while web-surfing.

I imagine most places won’t have some sort of “hit squad” actively searching for a person potentially browsing Reddit. What probably happens is that the data is tracked and recorded. Then, if an employee starts having problems with productivity, they probably pull the data to see if/when/where they’re goofing off.

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Most competent IT organizations will route all network traffic through some kind of filter that would be able to see what you're doing. However, it depends on the organization's rules and what they are using to monitor traffic.

If it were me, I would ask my manager or IT department what the policy is and if you're breaching it. You'll know immediately if they start blocking traffic, but they could watch your traffic without you knowing. Better to get permission first in case it's a taboo where you work.

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Any network that your laptop is connected to absolutely can track all the traffic that flows through it. Whether they do or not you can't know unless you ask. You do have other options though:

  1. You could use your phone's hotspot to get on the internet. (Using your wireless carrier's data plan.)
  2. If you have another computer at home you could use a product such as LogMeIn. You would then connect to your home computer and use that for your surfing. All your employer would be able to see is that you are going to LogMeIn, but they wouldn't be able to see what you are doing outside of that. Note this probably won't work well for video though due to the bandwidth limitations. Also, some companies block LogMeIn for this reason.
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