Bossware is coming to Thailand: Digital nomads, beware

Bossware is here, and it's tracking you on the beach

Bossware is coming to Thailand to ruin the digital nomad lifestyle. The kingdom’s attempts to introduce digital nomad visas have been widely mocked and dismissed, but Thailand remains a big draw for digital nomads, even if they can only stay for a couple of months.

Digital nomads looking for a more laid-back, less expensive option love Thailand. It offers a slower pace of life and plenty of opportunities for adventure.

But disturbing events in Canada this week might put all the “laid-backness” in jeopardy, as a woman working from home was ordered to repay her employer after she was caught skiving. Software on Karlee Besse’s laptop – “bossware” – found that she had been generous and creative in her timekeeping.

Besse, an accountant in British Columbia, claimed she was fired from her job without cause last year and demanded C$5,000 (US$3,730, 120,000 baht) in compensation. The judge, however, tossed out her claim and ordered her to pay C$2,500 to her former employers Reach CPA instead.

Related news

Reach told the court that Beese had logged more than 50 hours that “did not appear to have spent on work-related tasks”.

Reach said it installed bossware – employee-tracking spyware – on Besse’s work laptop after it found her work was over budget and behind schedule.

And that’s where the digital nomads might find themselves in trouble as they slurp their coconut water while having a massage on an island paradise beach with an elephant. This strategy of spying is becoming the norm in the era of remote work.

The software tracks how long a document is open, how the employee uses the document and logs the time as work. Weeks later, the company analysis identifies “irregularities” between her timesheets and the software logs. Bossware is coming for almost every worker, regardless of how hard they think they work.

According to the Guardian, Besse told the tribunal she found the program “difficult” and worried it didn’t differentiate between work and personal use. She was wrong. Besse said she had printed documents to work on, but did not tell Reach because she was (quite rightly, as it turns out) afraid of repercussions. The software also tracks printing.

Bossware is coming to Thailand, so you better put down that spliff.

Get out of the Muay Thai ring, and return to your desk.

You’re not being paid to free-climb.

The beach is closed.

ExpatsThailand NewsTourism News

Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

Related Articles