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How do I open a places.sqlite file from an empoyee computer to check their internet usage?

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I have an employee I suspect of doing internet research for another company while on the clock for me at my office. I have access to the places.sqlite file but how do I look at it on a different pc while the employee is at their desk? I need to do this covertly so data doesn't get deleted before I can gather it. I also need to do this as soon as possible!

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If the employee is using your network, it's best to monitor the network itself. There are a number of tools that are built for system administrators that allow you to control what sites your employees can visit as well as monitor what sites they're visiting. I'm not a sysadmin so I can't give you specific software names but you can search Google. Bear in mind that this practice may be subject to local laws and there may be worker rights issues.

As for your specific query, places.sqlite is just a standard SQLite file. You can use any sqlite program to open it and run queries on it. Again, these things may be covered by worker privacy protections: especially if it's not a company computer.

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You can also copy the places.sqlite file to a Firefox profile folder to inspect the history in the normal way via the history manager.
That is the easiest way to access that data.