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Telecommuting: The Road to Cat Videos?

Well isn’t this a new twist on the American dream: The BBC reports that a creative American software developer outsourced his own job to China. Yes, you read that right. An employee paid a Chinese firm one-fifth of his hefty salary to do his job while he browsed cat videos on the web.

His ploy was apparently discovered after Verizon performed an audit:

According to Andrew Valentine, of Verizon, the infrastructure company requested the operator’s risk team last year to investigate some anomalous activity on its virtual private network (VPN) logs.

“This organisation had been slowly moving toward a more telecommuting oriented workforce, and they had therefore started to allow their developers to work from home on certain days. In order to accomplish this, they’d set up a fairly standard VPN concentrator approximately two years prior to our receiving their call,” he was quoted as saying on an internet security website.

We’re partly moved to start the slow clap for this anonymous employee. This kind of strategic planning takes real chutzpa and out-of-the-box thinking. But he was able to accomplish this feat by sharing his VPN access code with his Chinese substitutes, which sheds light on security gaps in the world of telecommuting.

Still, none of this dents our belief that working from home is the way of the future. As we move into the information age, telecommuting will become commonplace, and it will provide all kinds of benefits for the nation and the world. What this story shows is that companies will have to start thinking creatively—or at least more creatively than their employees—about protecting their interests.

There may be some bumps down the road as we move into this new jobs environment—perhaps even some less amusing than this one. Even so, we salute progress. Workers of the world, telecommute!

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