It doesn’t matter whether you work for Big Brother or not – you’re being watched.
It’s a sign of the times.
For the most part it’s harmless. It could be no more than cameras monitoring when employees arrive or depart, and that can benefit their safety. It could be an electronic time card, but as technology expands capabilities to keep an eye on how workers spend their time, or use company equipment to waste it, increasingly, large companies are using it.
80% of medium and large corporations today use technology to monitor employees, up from 30% five years ago. Dr. Edward Peters, CEO of Data Discovery Sciences, a privacy expert, says employees should accept that if a company supplies a computer, access to the internet, or a phone – it’s theirs. “My advice is not to do anything on the company’s equipment that you wouldn’t mind discussing with the company.”
A disturbing development is the use of facial recognition software combined with laptop cameras and artificial intelligence that employers are said to be using to monitor satisfaction levels of staff. Dr. Peters sees some red flags. “What is this algorithm measuring? How is it being used in my performance review? To what extent is it accurate?” Those are questions no one was asking five years ago.
For the average worker we haven’t reached a point of alarm. Yet. But applications of technology and adaptations of management’s never-ending desire for maximum productivity in a fiercely competitive world offers the potential for exploitation, and the potential is real.