USA - Corporate Surveillance Monitors Workers’ Every Move

Arno Froese

The emergence of sensor and other technologies that let businesses track, listen to and even watch employees while on company time is raising concern about corporate levels of surveillance. Privacy advocates fear that, if the new technology is not wielded carefully, workers could be at risk of losing any sense of privacy while on the job.

Overall, corporate interest in surveillance seems to be on the rise. A 2018 survey by Gartner found that 22% of organizations worldwide in various industries are using employee-movement data, 17% are monitoring work-computer-usage data, and 16% are using Microsoft Outlook- or calendar-usage data.

Walmart last year patented a system that lets the retail giant listen in on workers and customers. The system can track employee “performance metrics” and ensure that employees are performing their jobs efficiently and correctly by listening for sounds such as rustling of bags or beeps of scanners at the checkout line and can determine the number of items placed in bags and number of bags. Sensors can also capture sounds from guests talking while in line and determine whether employees are greeting guests.

Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg said the company doesn’t have any immediate plans to implement the system. Logistics company UPS has been using sensors in their delivery trucks to track usage to make sure drivers are wearing seat belts and maintenance is up to date.

Companies are also starting to analyze digital data, such as emails and calendar info, in the hopes of squeezing more productivity out of their workers. Microsoft’s Workplace Analytics lets employers monitor data such as time spent on email, meeting time or time spent working after hours. Several enterprises, including Freddie Mac and CBRE, have tested the system., 15 April 2019

Arno's commentary

The process of monitoring workers, and for that matter all people, is unstoppable. And, we must add, it’s beneficial—in this case, for the employer and the employee. Today’s technology is capable of literally monitoring every move a person makes. Often, we are unaware of the monitoring going on while in a store making a purchase, going to the bank, a government building, schools, even churches. Politicians, particularly in Europe, have insisted for years on stricter surveillance controls. As it stands now, they have the most stringent privacy control laws in the world.

Why surveillance? Simply said: saving money and making more money. The entire world—whether communist, socialist, capitalist, dictatorship, you name it—can only be successful to the degree of prevailing greed. This is self-evident when reading, hearing, or seeing merchandisers’ advertisements. They all do the same: “We want to help you. We will fight for you. You are our only concern. Our primary goal is to please you.” But, in reality, these are blatant lies. Every company has only one target, and that is growth and more profit.

For us who believe in Jesus, we need to take careful notice of 1 Timothy 6:10: “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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