You decide - here is a really interesting article about a company that gathers data from ID badges worn by employees, to track what they're doing every day. Apparently it is to assist in boosting productivity, but by tracking where you are and who you're talking to, would this not be a fundamental breach of an employee's right to privacy? True, while employees work ostensibly for the benefit of their employers, they should be entitled to some form of privacy. More importantly, what about the implied and mutual duty of trust and confidence that must exist between employer and employee? What says "I don't trust you" more, than being asked to wear a device that tracks your every move while you are in work? I also don't buy the claim that only consenting employees wear the badges. The Article 29 Working Group on Data Protection has stated repeatedly that reliance on consent in the context of the employment relationship, in circumstances where the balance of power is seriously outweighed in the employer's favour is questionable. What candidate for a role would refuse to wear such an ID card and risk losing the job offer? I would also wager that better investment in HR/ER relations and personnel might be a good way to analyse the work data and assist in boosting productivity. Watch this space!!
The man I met at the brasserie was Ben Waber, chief executive of a Boston company called Humanyze that claims it can boost a company’s revenues by tracking what its employees actually do all day. It gathers data from ID badges hung around people’s necks, a bit like the ones employees use to swipe into work, only these have microphones and sensors that know where you are and who you are talking to – though not what you are saying. I arranged to meet Mr Waber because, although I knew companies had been testing worker-tracking gadgetry for years, I had not heard anyone spell out the financial pluses of such surveillance. If Mr Waber is to be believed, they are significant.