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What can employer see on my phone?

Discussion in 'Android Help' started by Android Question, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. Android Question

    Thread Starter

    Hello everyone. I have a Samsung Galaxy S5, that I often connect to my work laptop thru a USB cable in order to charge the phone. When the phone is connected to my laptop, is my employer able to see everything going on in my phone during that time?

    I am concerned that they would be able to remote in and look at any devices attached to my computer without my permission and in turn, be able to see me surfing Pinterest, yelling at my husband via text, or playing Game of War.

    I used to receive a message when I would first hook my phone to my laptop to charge it, asking if I wanted to open up files or to transfer information and I would just X out of that box and leave it to charge.

    If anyone could help me with this question I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

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  2. Unless you take specific actions, when tethered, the most that even you will see are the user files on the device.
    Also of note, using moving the device repeatedly while charging can cause damage to the port over time.;):rolleyes:
    #2 Bg260, Oct 5, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
  3. svim

    svim Extreme Android User

    Your USB cable has at least four wires in it, along with four corresponding contacts in the plug end. Two of those metal contacts are for data transfer and two for power transfer.
    You can buy a USB power-only cable which cannot be used for any kind of data transfer. You can also buy an adapter that negates the data-transfer capability:

    Or if you like little projects, you can 'tweak' your current USB cable and disable the data transfer contacts:
    PitCarver likes this.
  4. Slug

    Slug Check six!
    VIP Member

    You're joking, right? :thinking:
    mikedt, Dannydet and svim like this.
  5. Dannydet

    Dannydet Extreme Android User

    So now we know what goes on at work...
  6. No, I'm not joking.

    Edited previous post to be more descriptive. If the charging cable is attached and you are handling and moving the phone excessively , over time this can "wallow" the charging port.
    #6 Bg260, Oct 5, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
  7. svim

    svim Extreme Android User

    Been using my S3 for years now when it's been charging connected to a power adapter, to a computer USB port, and to an external battery. Haven't had any kind of problem or glitch when doing so. That's anecdotal of course, maybe it's a matter of the S3 model or whatever. Anyone else?
    Been using laptops connected to power adapters for decades now too as far as that goes.
  8. I'm talking about physical damage to the already fragile micro USB port. It becomes widened and loose over time from movement of the device. Eventually losing connectivity and requiring a replacement. I was trying to be humorous........but now I have to spend time defending my opinion. More links will follow.


    I'm just not in the mood for this today.
  9. svim

    svim Extreme Android User

    OK, so putting aside our 'humorous', diverging comments and getting back to the OP's original query, if you're worried about your employer snooping on your S5 on any way, don't use a conventional USB cable. Either pick up a power-only USB cable, an appropriate power-0nly adapter, or modify your current USB cable so there's no data transfer capability.
  10. Jfalls63

    Jfalls63 Android Expert

    The S5 with Android 5.x and above, the default USB connection is charge only. I think you would have to change it to MPT before anyone would be able to see any files or what you may be doing on the phone.
    badcatz, AZgl1500 and svim like this.
  11. AZgl1500

    AZgl1500 Extreme Android User

    if it has MM on it, that is the case for sure.

    with 5.1 mine would allow me to see the files on the phone, but only the media files.
    I never, use the PC to charge the phone..... I always keep a wall-wart handy and I leave it my workstation, all the time...

    My wife is in the hospital, and has been for 2+ months, I have 3 wall-warts plugged in and around her bed.
    her Kindle, her S5, my Note 4, and my Kindle... those things have been plugged in and left there. I don't move them...
    they are just too cheap to worry about "someone might steal it"... no one ever has even looked at them, they are invisible in today's world.
    Jfalls63 likes this.
  12. VanessaWalsh

    VanessaWalsh Lurker

    Have you find the solution? I have the same question
  13. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Nobody will be able to see what you are doing on your phone just because it has a USB connection. But if you leave file transfer enabled then in principle someone could browse photos etc on the phone.

    So why are you connecting the phone to the computer? If it's just to charge, set it to charge only mode and there is no possible issue. If you need to transfer files, enable that just for the transfer and disable afterwards. But if it's a personal phone and a work computer I assume you won't want to transfer files, so just setting to charge only should solve the problem (and that's the default on most phones anyway).
  14. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    An employer would be much more likely to be able to monitor your data usage on the network if you use the company WiFi.
    ocnbrze and Hadron like this.
  15. RASelkirk

    RASelkirk Well-Known Member

    Seriously? If you're worried about what your employer *might* see on your phone, you should look into a lifestyle change. :rolleyes: Just sayin'...

    ocnbrze and Dannydet like this.
  16. donniegalaxy2

    donniegalaxy2 Lurker

    This is similar to what the cops say when your exercising your constitutional right against unlawful search and seizure...
    Cop:'We have no probable cause but would you mind if we search your car?'
    Me:'Actually I do mind, no you cannot search my car.'
    Cop:'If your not doing anything wrong then you shouldn't be afraid of us looking.'

    The only difference is that the phone is connected to the company network, all traffic on the network is monitored. Even so, this is not giving an employer permission to search your phone, although some employers may try to remotely search any device connected to any computer or company AP and use anything found against you currently or in the future.

    You don't know what your employer has the capacity to do, connect your devices to anything company related but be aware that there may be consequences.
    Anybody that says 'oh they can do this or can't do that' but if you know what your doing then you can 'do this or that', so don't be naive.
  17. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    Use a good VPN. My employer can't see anything I'm doing online.

    Of course if one is using a company issued device, that's different.
    #17 mikedt, Aug 11, 2020
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2020
    lunatic59 and Dannydet like this.
  18. ocnbrze

    ocnbrze DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!!!

    but my question, what employer would do that? seems kind of ridiculous that the company you work for would go to such lengths. the only place i see this happening is some top secret government job. like the CIA or FBI.
  19. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    Nope, nope, nope. Law enforcement and other judicial officers are specifically bound by the constitution. Private citizens and/or companies are bound by civil law. If a cop enters your home and takes your phone without a warrant or your permission, that's illegal search and seizure. If I would to that, it's breaking and entering and robbery.

    More to the point, If, as a condition of employment, the person agrees to the monitoring of ANY device they connect to the company network, then the company is perfectly within their rights to do so. As a matter of fact, if a company does NOT monitor devices and traffic, they are at risk for a variety of intrusions.

    Also consider that using company resources to access, distribute or add content to social platforms could expose the company to other liabilities, so they must not only forbid it, but monitor for compliance. My employer has very specific internet and network usage policies and violation can lead to anything from warnings to dismissal.

    ANY company that has online financial transactions should be monitoring traffic and devices connected to internal networks for any malicious activity and/or files, which would pretty much mean any file or traffic available on the network would (and should) be scanned.
    ocnbrze and Dannydet like this.
  20. RASelkirk

    RASelkirk Well-Known Member

    I've been around long enough that my experience precludes everything but telephone, TV, and radio. That said, there were no privacy concerns at all other than local storage of postal mail and/or other hand-delivered papers or photos. The thing about "growing up" in today's world is, you NEED to be constantly vigilant about EVERYTHING you do, because it ALL has ever-lasting repercussions whether you like/want it or not. This is the ultimate trade-off of living in the digital world, privacy has now become an illusion of fantasy. The only way to obtain it is to completely and totally remove one's self from the digital world, which of course, no one is willing to do!

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