Business Technology

Tuesday 30 September 2014

British Government to spy on computers of the jobless

Rowena Mason

Published 20/12/2012 | 14:45

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BENEFIT claimants will have their computers remotely monitored by the British Government to see how many jobs they search for each day under a new programme involving 'cookies'.

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Jobseekers will be offered the chance to look for work through the new Universal Jobmatch website, which automatically pairs them up with opportunities that suit their skills after scanning their CVs.

It will also allow employers to search for new workers among the unemployed and send messages inviting them to interviews.

However, their activities may also be tracked using devices known as "cookies", so their Job Centre advisers know how many searches they have been doing and whether they are turning down viable opportunities.

Iain Duncan-Smith, the Work and Pensions Secretary, said the scheme would "revolutionise" the process of looking for work.

The tracking element of the programme will not be compulsory as monitoring people's behaviour online without their consent would not be allowed under EU law.

But job advisors are able to impose sanctions such as "mandatory work activity" if they feel the unemployed are not searching hard enough.

Around 690,000 people have signed up to it so far, with more than half giving their Government job adviser access to their profile and activities.

The website has already signed up 370,000 employers and jobseekers are conducting about five million searches a day.

The Government now hopes to roll out the programme more widely after significant success stories of employers chasing applicants and people finding jobs before they have even signed on.

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