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23484d7a
Community Member

Screen Captures - How to not disclose proprietary info?

We would like to use the upworks app to track hourly time, however it requires a screen capture to do that. Problem is that we often use proprietary tools to do the work for our clients and we don't want to be sharing screenshots of our tools. Does anyone have any suggestions on what do to about this?

 

Really seems like upwork should understand that sensitive information is going to be on the screen sometimes, it isn't always going to only be just the clients info. I could be in my email reading the clients email and then in the message list pane I could have a list of customer names on other email messages. I don't want that showing up in a screen capture. Not sure how this basic issue has escaped upwork thus far. 

 

ACCEPTED SOLUTION
kochubei_valeria
Community Member

Hi Jeremy,

 

I understand your concern. However, in order for Hourly Protection to work, the Team App has to capture screenshots at random time and make them available in the Work Diary for your client. Blocking certain information in those screenshots would take clients' ability to monitor the Work Diary away from them. If you are uncomfortable using the Team App, I'd also sugest you check out Upwork Fixed-Price protection or consider using manual time.

~ Valeria
Upwork

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31 REPLIES 31
tarpindersingh
Community Member

You are supposed to work only for client for whom you are tracking time.  For email checking, skype etc. you need to turn the tracker off.

 

 

Person didn't say that leisure email was being accessed - I could be in my email reading the clients email......

 

That's different than what you're implying. 

This.

Your response is frustrating. 

 

As I said in my original post I'm reading an email from the client I'm working for. Maybe the client sent me a list of items to do, or a list of products to update and I'm looking back at their email to read through the list or the instructions. Thus I would be in my email program. 

 

Clearly I'm a pretty frustrated by this. I want the payment protection of using the Upwork app and I like that it tracks the time and allows me to put in messages for clients. But fact of the matter is even if you are working on client tasks not everything on your desktop is for client eyes. 

 

Hopefully a moderator will be able to help you out on this. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

 

I wouldn't like personal info showing up on a screenshot either. 

Jeremy, the tool works the way that it does. You have the choice how to use Upwork. The power is yours.

 

You may work using fixed-price contracts: no screen capture.

You may work using hourly contracts and manual time: no screen capture.

You may work using the time tracker, with hourly payment protection applied: yes, there is screen capture.

 

Choose.

 

Keep in mind that you DO NOT NEED hourly payment protection as long as your clients' payments go through and as long as they don't dispute your work.

 

Personally, I work with confidential, proprietary information all the time, and it shows up in my work diary. Who cares? The only people who see the work diaries are me and my clients. Upwork staffers don't look at the work diaries because there are no disputes about them.

 

If your security needs are such that you don't even want screenshots in Upwork's secure systems, then explain to your clients why you are using manually logged time, and don't work with clients who can't be trusted to pay you.

 

Also, your time-tracking tool has a preference option that causes it to take screenshots only of the top window and not the whole screen if your desktop is a concern. Or you could clean up your desktop.

Jeremy, the tool works the way that it does. You have the choice how to use Upwork. The power is yours.

 

>> So Upwork should never take customer feedback into consideration? Just build whatever they think is best and if customers want to use it they can use it, if not they don't have too. This is just such a smarmy response that isn't useful. 

 

You may work using fixed-price contracts: no screen capture.

You may work using hourly contracts and manual time: no screen capture.

You may work using the time tracker, with hourly payment protection applied: yes, there is screen capture.

 

>> I know how upworks works.

 

Choose.

 

Keep in mind that you DO NOT NEED hourly payment protection as long as your clients' payments go through and as long as they don't dispute your work.

 

>> Of course you don't NEED it, I didnt say I NEEDED it. 

 

Personally, I work with confidential, proprietary information all the time, and it shows up in my work diary. Who cares? The only people who see the work diaries are me and my clients. Upwork staffers don't look at the work diaries because there are no disputes about them.

 

>> That's great for you however I'm not sure your clients would agree with you. As a sometimes client I do not want my freelancers sharing my confidential information with their other clients.

 

If your security needs are such that you don't even want screenshots in Upwork's secure systems, then explain to your clients why you are using manually logged time, and don't work with clients who can't be trusted to pay you.

 

>> The entire point is I would like hourly protection with screenshots that don't contain confidential information.  This is a reasonable concern and your responses are not giving this issue due consideration. Particularly with information security being such an important business issue. 

 

Also, your time-tracking tool has a preference option that causes it to take screenshots only of the top window and not the whole screen if your desktop is a concern. Or you could clean up your desktop.

 

>> Yes I'm aware of this and your response is completely irrelevant to my email example. As is your comment about my desktop being messy. 

"Upwork staffers don't look at the work diaries because there are no disputes about them."

 

Big assertion here... would not bet on that.

roniquery
Community Member

The screenshots are very distracting, to say the least.  

re: "The screenshots are very distracting, to say the least."

 

You CAN use the desktop tool to record time WITHOUT having screenshots show up on your computer screen (thus distracting you). The application has a settings screen that lets you turn off the distraction.

 

Screen Shot 2018-07-09 at 1.51.50 PM.png

 

ALSO: Screenshots (and using the desktop-based time-tracker application) are optional.

jmeyn
Community Member


@Jeremy R. H wrote:

Clearly I'm a pretty frustrated by this. I want the payment protection of using the Upwork app and I like that it tracks the time and allows me to put in messages for clients. But fact of the matter is even if you are working on client tasks not everything on your desktop is for client eyes. 

 


Set the tracker up in a virtual machine and work from this VM. The tracker will then only make screen captures of what is displayed in the VM. 

Jeremy, Upwork offers hourly protection because it can look at your work diary and confirm that you were working on the client's project and not watching Netflix or playing Solitaire.

 

That is how the system works. You can not have hourly protection under this system without screenshots, no matter how you configure the time-tracking software.

 

You are saying "trust me." 

 

No, Upwork doesn't trust you to rack up hours, have a client complain that you were not doing the job, and then Upwork pays you anyway.

Again, not what I'm asking for.

 

Please stop replying to this discussion, you are not helping me in any way. 

23484d7a
Community Member

Possibly. When I'm at the office with dual monitors I just have it set to capture active screen but sometimes I'm on the other screen, in my email for example, and it tries to capture that. I wish I could tell it to try again in a minute. But people might abuse that. Not sure there is a good solution.

 

Maybe some screens could be marked as containing confidential information with a checkbox when the capture screen pops up and they get captured but shown with a cover in the diary. Then if a client wants to dispute the time an upworks rep could review them and the freelancer could opt to make them available to the client if needed. Something like that. 

 

 


@Jeremy R. H wrote:

....But fact of the matter is even if you are working on client tasks not everything on your desktop is for client eyes. 

 


That is the fact of the matter? Guess I've been doing it wrong.

 

Best,

Michael

 


@Douglas Michael M wrote:

@Jeremy R. H wrote:

....But fact of the matter is even if you are working on client tasks not everything on your desktop is for client eyes. 

 


That is the fact of the matter? Guess I've been doing it wrong.

 

Best,

Michael

Probably.

 

kochubei_valeria
Community Member

Hi Jeremy,

 

I understand your concern. However, in order for Hourly Protection to work, the Team App has to capture screenshots at random time and make them available in the Work Diary for your client. Blocking certain information in those screenshots would take clients' ability to monitor the Work Diary away from them. If you are uncomfortable using the Team App, I'd also sugest you check out Upwork Fixed-Price protection or consider using manual time.

~ Valeria
Upwork


@Valeria K wrote:

Hi Jeremy,

 

I understand your concern. However, in order for Hourly Protection to work, the Team App has to capture screenshots at random time and make them available in the Work Diary for your client. Blocking certain information in those screenshots would take clients' ability to monitor the Work Diary away from them. If you are uncomfortable using the Team App, I'd also sugest you check out Upwork Fixed-Price protection or consider using manual time.


 

Hi, 

 

Yes I see how it is a challenge, thank you for your understanding. One thing suggested is that maybe some screens could be marked as containing confidential information with a checkbox when the capture screen pops up and they get captured but shown with a cover in the diary. Then if a client wants to dispute the time an upworks rep could review them and the freelancer could opt to make them available to the client if needed. Something like that. 
 

Again, everyone keeps saying use manual or fixed price which is not a solution. The issue is valid, you want to charge hourly for tasks that can have an indeterminate amount of time and there is potential for non-client specific data to be captured in a screen shot. 

jmeyn
Community Member

Again, everyone keeps saying use manual or fixed price which is not a solution. The issue is valid, you want to charge hourly for tasks that can have an indeterminate amount of time and there is potential for non-client specific data to be captured in a screen shot. 


 Hi Jeremy,

 

I understand your concerns in this matter but

 

  • Non-client specific data can't be captured if you work only on the clients' jobs without any other application open (I agree not a realistic scenario)
  • Non-client specific cata can't be caputured if you run both job and tracker in a virtual machine using only applications needed for the job at hand

More generally speaking, confidentiality is a general issue with Upwork and similar sites. Every now and then I receive the request to sign an NDA. I never fail to point out that I can grant confidentialty only for what I do on my computer. All messages and files the client sends via Upwork (or email) without encrypting them are not really confidential any more. Upwork employees have access to Upwork's messaging system, Sysops have access to my and my client's email accounts, did I already mention the various intelligence services?

23484d7a
Community Member


@Joachim M wrote:

Again, everyone keeps saying use manual or fixed price which is not a solution. The issue is valid, you want to charge hourly for tasks that can have an indeterminate amount of time and there is potential for non-client specific data to be captured in a screen shot. 


 Hi Jeremy,

 

I understand your concerns in this matter but

 

  • Non-client specific data can't be captured if you work only on the clients' jobs without any other application open (I agree not a realistic scenario)
  • Non-client specific cata can't be caputured if you run both job and tracker in a virtual machine using only applications needed for the job at hand

More generally speaking, confidentiality is a general issue with Upwork and similar sites. Every now and then I receive the request to sign an NDA. I never fail to point out that I can grant confidentialty only for what I do on my computer. All messages and files the client sends via Upwork (or email) without encrypting them are not really confidential any more. Upwork employees have access to Upwork's messaging system, Sysops have access to my and my client's email accounts, did I already mention the various intelligence services?


Agreed. I just don't use the upworks tracking tool any more. I use a third party tool to track time now.

 

mrdanielprice
Community Member

I'm going to play Devil's advocate here and say I can see things from both points of view, unfortunately it's not a problem that can easily be solved and also have the client be assured that the freelancer is focusing on their project and their project alone during the time they're paying them for.

 

Take what I do, for instance. I write news articles (video game journalist).

 

Stuff a client might see me looking at during on my screenshots:

 

The document itself.

Press releases.

Google searches (research).

My private folder/documents on my computer (when I am renaming images or downloading the document, let's say).

Emails in my inbox.

 

Now, from my point of view, I would prefer the client both my personal and work emails that may relate to other clients (being able to see headers when I'm in my inbox).

 

I would also prefer that they not see my private documents and what have you that might be visible while I'm doing something in the Windows file viewer.

 

The client is a customer, not your boss, so it's not the same as your boss looking over your shoulder to see if you're not slacking during work hours. A company doesn't want their customer knowing every single thing that goes on behind the scenes. In fact, the screenshot could easily breach the Data Protection Act if it fires off at a really bad time.

 

I haven't found any work on Upwork specifically, unfortunately, but I can totally see how the randomly timed screenshot feature could be a bit of an issue. It's clear that Jeremy is wanting to keep everything within the Upwork ecosystem without having to resort to using third party software to track time, just so he can do so without clients being able to see whatever is on his screen at any given moment.

 

At least that was my overall interpretation of what the OP is saying.

@Upwork,

 

What's the solutions to this?

 

If you are a programmer that handles many sensitive info from clients leaving screenshots being taken randomly is not an option.

 

Maybe we could review the screenshots taken and blurr sensitive data. 

This blured screenshots would work too:

**Edited for Community Guidelines**

Leonardo,

 

There are no plans to add a feature to blur snapshots to Upwork App or Work Diary currently. Upwork Payment Protection for hourly contracts requires full visibility for the snapshots. If you work with sensitive data, you can consider using fixed-price contracts.

~ Valeria
Upwork

Every freelancer using the time-tracker has the option to delete individual screenshots if he thinks it necessary to do so.

 

As a programmer and database professional, I work with proprietary and confidential data.

 

I use the time-tracker.

 

I do not find it necessary to prevent screenshots of client systems from being recorded by the time-tracker. The work diaries are not public. They are only accessed by myself and the client.

 

However, I do believe that ANYTHING that is online (or "in the cloud") has the potential to "leak" out if systems are hacked or otherwise comprimised. If I was dealing with information that would absolutely be catastrophic were it to leak out... then I would probably NOT allow screenshots to capture my screens.

 

In that case, I would use manually-logged time or fixed-price contracts.


@Preston H wrote:

Every freelancer using the time-tracker has the option to delete individual screenshots if he thinks it necessary to do so.

 

As a programmer and database professional, I work with proprietary and confidential data.

 

I use the time-tracker.

 

I do not find it necessary to prevent screenshots of client systems from being recorded by the time-tracker. The work diaries are not public. They are only accessed by myself and the client.

 

However, I do believe that ANYTHING that is online (or "in the cloud") has the potential to "leak" out if systems are hacked or otherwise comprimised. If I was dealing with information that would absolutely be catastrophic were it to leak out... then I would probably NOT allow screenshots to capture my screens.

 

In that case, I would use manually-logged time or fixed-price contracts.


 Preston,

 

The work diaries are not public but accessible by an unknown number of Upwork's employees and maybe even contract workers.

 

Leaks are not limited to the cloud. Any data saved on computers have the potential to 'leak' out. If I were to guess I'd even say cloud is safer than any computer system run by a freelancer.

re: "Leaks are not limited to the cloud. Any data saved on computers have the potential to 'leak' out. If I were to guess I'd even say cloud is safer than any computer system run by a freelancer."

 

All Upwork screenshots are "on the cloud."

Hi Valeria,

I just wanna ask what the privacy is for these time tracker screenshots. Is it encrypted? Is it treated as confidential by upwork? Thanks in advance for your help

re: "I just wanna ask what the privacy is for these time tracker screenshots. Is it encrypted?"

 

Are the image files encrypted on the Upwork servers in their "at rest" file state?
I doubt it.

Is communication between the browser and Upwork server encrypted? Yes.

 

re: "Is it treated as confidential by upwork?"

Yes.

vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Cattleya,

Thanks for the follow-up questions. Please refer to our Privacy Policy, more specifically the "Work Diaries and Work View" section which states that: 

"We collect information about a Freelancerโ€™s work for a Client, including automatically collected information about work on a particular project. If a Freelancer enables Work Diaries, we will share Work Diaries with the relevant Client and Agency. We tell Freelancers when we are capturing information for the Work Diary and allow Freelancers to block such data sharing.

As part of the Service, when enabled by a Freelancer, we collect information about a Freelancerโ€™s work on a project for a Client. This feature is known as Work Diary. Work Diaries include information provided by the Freelancer, such as a memo, as well as automatically gathered information about work on a project, such as number of mouseclicks and keyboard strokes and regularly taken screenshots (which may include a webcam picture of you if you have enabled this feature in your settings). In order to use Work Diaries, you must download and install the Team App software from www.upwork.com.

We will share information contained in Work Diaries with the relevant Client and with any manager or administrator of any applicable Freelancer Agency. We inform Freelancers each time we capture information for Work Diary. As set forth in our Terms of Service, End User License Agreement, and help pages on the Site, a Freelancer may choose to block or delete the screen shot and associated data for a recorded work interval, but then the Freelancer may not be paid for that work interval. Upwork may use de-identified or aggregated information from Work Diaries for statistical analysis, product development, marketing and research."

~ Vladimir
Upwork
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