In the US, an employee at a technology company might learn about her salary from a salary tracker.
But what about a person in a manufacturing plant?
That person might be told about a pay cut to a competitor.
Or they might hear about a company’s financial woes from an outsider, but they’ll probably have to go on the record.
And, in the UK, employees in a public sector agency might have to disclose their union status to outsiders.
It’s not as if those things are exclusive to government agencies.
As an employer, you could do much the same thing to your employees if you wanted to.
“It’s one of the most powerful ways to influence them,” said Laura Stemmer, a senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Cambridge.
“It’s a really powerful weapon in the hands of those who want to be powerful.”
Stember said the most effective way to influence someone is through their work.
She also pointed out that many employers are able to use information they collect in order to target their employees.
“We all have the potential to be successful if we just focus on that,” she said.
“But if we focus on what’s important to us and we do it in a way that doesn’t affect the work we do, then we lose our ability to do that.”
In the UK government has a responsibility to act when the public gets upset with its practices, said Professor Stemner.
She said that in the past there has been a focus on using public sector agencies to address the social and economic problems that are associated with high unemployment and poverty.
However, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said the department has never been involved in any form of employee information sharing.
In its response to the inquiry, the department said it is committed to creating a culture where “all our employees can feel comfortable sharing their personal information with each other”.
It also said the agency has a “robust and transparent” process in place, with staff who share personal information sharing “with their employer and the wider organisation”.
The BIS said that while the agency would continue to work closely with the Department of Health, it was “not the agency’s policy to provide personal information”.
The agency also said it “will always ensure that all information shared is accurate, and can be used to support and enhance our workforce and our customers”.