Can My Boss See What Websites I Visit? (2023)

If you’ve ever closed a browser tab and wondered, “wait, can my boss see that?” you are not alone.

While there are standards for professional conduct regarding the internet, you also deserve to know your rights regarding workspace and privacy. Knowing these rights will ensure that you maintain your privacy and stay protected from repercussions.

This article will answer your questions about work surveillance and internet privacy — and on a more personal note, what your boss or manager can and can’t actually see in your browsing history.

Can My Boss or Manager See My Browsing History?

The short answer to this question is — yes. Your employer can indeed see your browsing history through remote employee monitoring software. You should assume that your employer checks your browsing history regularly.

Unfortunately, erasing your browsing history doesn’t change anything.

(Video) Can Your Boss Spy On Your Internet Use?

If you’re wondering, “Does my employer monitor my browsing?” and asking about the legality of the issue1, that’s a bit of a bigger beast. The law does not let your employer monitor your personal browsing history — that is, websites you visit or information you store on your personal computer.

However, things get a bit more complicated when browsing on a public network, even if you are using a private computer. In this case, the answer to “Can my employer see what websites I visit?” — even if you are using a personal computer — is yes.

Can My Employer See What Websites I View If I’m Not On Their WiFi?

Can My Boss See What Websites I Visit? (1)

If you have a connection to the company network, your employer has the right to track your internet activity. They can also monitor you if you are using a work computer but are not connected to the local WiFi.2 The laws get a bit more complex when tracking your activity on a personal device that is not connected to the network, though it is not necessarily illegal.

Can My Boss Read My Email?

If you are using a work computer or sending emails on the workplace network, your employer can indeed read your email. If you are sending emails through a work email address, these are not considered private and your employer may access them freely.

These days, it is not uncommon for employers to monitor their employees’ email as a matter of routine. Some companies install software that sends copies of any emails sent to or from employee accounts.

(Video) What Your Boss Can TRACK About YOU with Microsoft Teams

What is more, some employers use keylogger software that even lets them view deleted emails or drafts that have been saved.

As for whether your employer can read emails sent from a personal account connected to the company network, the answer is less clear. Laws are still murky on this topic, and not all employers have the necessary software. However, court rulings on this topic often depend on a variety of factors.

Can My Boss Read My Text Messages?

If you have a cell phone that your company issued, your employer may have the right to monitor those text messages. However, in general, the law does not allow an employer to monitor text conversations on an employee’s personal cell phone.

Can My Boss Read My Slack Messages?

Your employer can read private IMs or Slack messages. Even if you are talking privately to someone at another company, your private Slack messages are not private from your employer.

Can My Boss, Manager, Or The IT Department See My Passwords?

If you store your passwords on a work device or a personal device connected to the company network, your employer and the company IT personnel likely have access to your passwords.

(Video) Can you determine what websites someone has visited?

Can My Boss or Manager See What Websites I Visit On My Phone At Work?

If you use your mobile network to look up websites at work, your employer cannot track that activity. However, if you use the company network to connect to the internet on your cell phone, they can see all the activity on the network.

If you plan to use your personal cell phone at work, make sure you use your cell data, not the workplace WiFi or internet connection, to access the Web.

Can My Employer Control My Computer Remotely?

With the increase in remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many employees have wondered if employers can access or even control their computers when working from home.

The answer is: yes and no. To access your computer remotely, your employer needs to have installed special software that gives them remote control. This is usually only possible if you are using a work device. If you are working from home on a personal computer, you can be sure that your employer can’t control your computer from afar.

Beyond physical control, you also need to consider IP control. Famously, using a work device to produce software, graphics, or any other output leaves you open to lawsuits that the IP belongs to the owner of the device used to produce the work.

(Video) Can I see what websites have been visited on my wifi?

Simple solution: don’t use work devices or Wi-Fi to work on your side business while employed.

Conclusion: assume less privacy, even when working from home

When on a computer at work, it is best to assume that your employer can see everything you are doing. This will ensure that you avoid any trouble, including losing your job or even facing a lawsuit.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Information Should I Avoid Storing On My Work Computer?

If you are wondering what information you should avoid storing on your work computer, part of the answer is obvious. Everyone knows you should never store inappropriate materials, like adult images or off-color humor. But a bigger rule of thumb is simply not to store any personal information. Keep your work and personal web access separate and avoid storing personal passwords, job applications, bank logins, or private information on your work computer.

Why Do Employers Monitor Their Employees?

There are many reasons why employers monitor their employees’ computer activity. They use it to avoid theft and make sure that their employees’ online actions reflect well on the company. They may also track activity to make sure employees are using their time productively.

How Can I Protect Myself From Repercussions Connected To Online Activities At Work?

The simplest and best way to protect yourself from repercussions (either legal or relating to your employment status) is to assume all your online activity is being monitored. Conduct yourself professionally in all your workplace communication, and avoid saying anything that could potentially be embarrassing or problematic.


Can my employer see what websites I visited on Wi-Fi? ›

Can my employer see what websites I visited on home WiFi? No, the Wi-Fi bill only shows the devices that accessed the internet and how much they used. It won't show which sites they accessed.

Can your employer see what you are doing online at home? ›

Because your employer is providing the communications technology, they have the right to track your activities. This includes your internet browsing, how you are using your computer (including the number of keystrokes and the actual words you type), what you store on your computer, and the contents of your work email.

Can my employer see what websites I visit on my personal phone VPN? ›

Yes, employers can see your internet traffic while you're connected to your company's Virtual Private Network (VPN). They can see this traffic by virtue of how VPN works. However, it's unlikely that they see your internet traffic while you're not connected.

Can someone tell what websites I visit? ›

The sad truth is that anyone can view your browser history and search history. Many websites use cookies that follow you and recommend items based on your search history. Governments can track you if you do something to alert them. In addition, hackers could infiltrate your computer.

Can my employer see my browsing history on incognito? ›

If you sign in to any website in Incognito mode, that site will know that you're the one browsing and can keep track of your activities from that moment on. Prevent your activity or location from being visible to the websites you visit, your school, employer, or your Internet Service provider.

How do I hide my internet activity from my employer? ›

Use a VPN. Using a VPN is the best way to hide internet activity from employers, companies that you work for, and other institutions and third parties. When you use a VPN, the internet traffic goes through a tunnel that encrypts all the data between your device and a website.

Can my employer see my Google search history? ›

In general, if an employer provides its employees with devices or accounts for work purposes, they may have the ability to monitor the usage of those devices or accounts. It is important for employees to review their employer's policies and understand their rights to privacy in the workplace.

Can anyone see my website history? ›

Yes, they can.

It is best to use security tools: VPNs, HTTPS proxies, and the Tor browser to keep your searches private from them.

How can I visit a website without them knowing? ›

Here's how to surf anonymously with various tools:
  1. Get a VPN, a proxy server, or Tor.
  2. Use a private email service.
  3. Employ specialized anti-tracking software.
  4. Use a more private search engine.
  5. Get a secure browser.
Feb 18, 2021

Can Wi-Fi owner see what sites I visited incognito? ›

Does using incognito mode stop WiFi owners from seeing my search history? Short answer: no. Incognito mode (also known as Private mode) is a privacy tool built into the most popular web browsers.

Who is tracking my internet activity? ›

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can see everything you do online. They can track things like which websites you visit, how long you spend on them, the content you watch, the device you're using, and your geographic location.

How do I track my employee internet history? ›

Employee internet monitoring software WorkTime is a great tool to monitor internet usage. WorkTime provides insight into employees' internet activities and how often they use social media during working hours. Tracking internet usage highlights the productive/unproductive internet-related computer activities.

How do I hide my search history on my Internet provider? ›

If you are wondering how to hide your internet activity, the most effective method is to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). You can always use a Tor browser, stay on HTTPS websites, and use encrypted email services, but we're looking for a one-and-done solution that is most easily achieved with a VPN.

What is the most private way to search the Internet? ›

Common ways to browse more privately
  • Incognito mode: how it works, and its limitations. Almost every browser has a native version of Chrome's well-known Incognito (or “private”) mode. ...
  • Privacy extensions: helpful, but limited…and risky. ...
  • Brave. ...
  • Tor. ...
  • Firefox. ...
  • Safari. ...
  • DuckDuckGo. ...
  • Vivaldi.
Mar 2, 2023

Which browser is most private? ›

Top 6 Private and Secure Browsers in 2021
  • Brave – Out-of-the-Box Privacy with a Touch of Eerie Online Ads. ...
  • Vivaldi Browser – A Highly Customizable Browser That Adapts to Your Needs. ...
  • Tor – Best Known Anonymous Browser Endorsed by Privacy Fans. ...
  • Firefox – The Forefront of Web Browser Security.

Can the phone owner see what I search? ›

Although your phone company can track the websites you visit (the top-level domain) it cannot actually see any of the data that passes between you and the website. This is because most websites nowadays implement HTTPS encryption to prevent your data from eavesdropping.

Can my employer read my text messages through WIFI? ›

Wrap Up. Generally, someone cannot see your text messages when you connect to their Wi-Fi. However, threat actors can use other methods that don't rely on Wi-Fi to get your texts.

How do I check my browsing history on my wireless router? ›

On the router's dashboard or navigation bar, look for the System log or Administrative Event log tab. Other routers will have this tab under system settings or advanced settings. Click on the tab to open the log page. You can then view your browsing history and take the necessary actions.

Can my employer see me through the camera on my laptop? ›

On work-issued computers, employers can gather data from your keyboard, like how often you're typing, and even your webcam, if it's in your employment agreement. On corporate Internet connections, your employer probably can see which sites you visit, and it can access the emails you send from company accounts.

What can my employer see on my personal Iphone? ›

Can my employer see what I do on my personal phone? If you have a cell phone that your company issued, your employer may have the right to monitor those text messages. However, in general, the law does not allow an employer to monitor text conversations on an employee's personal cell phone.

Can WiFi owner see what sites I visited incognito? ›

Can a Wi-Fi provider see what sites I visit when I am in Incognito mode? Yes, they can. Unfortunately, Incognito mode doesn't hide your activity from your Wi-Fi provider. All it does is stop browsers and sites from storing cookies during that session.

Can the WiFi owner see what I search even if I delete it? ›

Yes. The WiFi owner has access to the admin panel from the WiFi router, meaning they can see the browsing information performed on their WiFi network. In addition, routers see log information, including when and what you did on your computer.

Can your parents see your search history through the WiFi bill? ›

Fear not! Your parents can't see your internet history on the internet bill. There are certain things your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may tell them through other avenues, but they can't get your internet browsing history from the internet bill.


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