Whatever happened to employee privacy?

20 | If you have a social media account or a cell phone or an internet connection, then you have no privacy. I’m pretty sure you can agree with me there. Do a search on Duck Duck Go or some other search engine for “Facebook scandal,” “cell phone privacy scandal,” or “data hacked” and you will no doubt agree with me.  But have you ever considered your lack of privacy in the workplace? I’m going to share with you three stories and I want you to figure out whether or not they are true or false. Tune in to see if you can guess how far companies will go for the sake of efficiency.


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About the host:

Over the past decade, Jim Stroud has built an expertise in sourcing and recruiting strategy, public speaking, lead generation, video production, podcasting, online research, competitive intelligence, online community management and training. He has consulted for such companies as Microsoft, Google, MCI, Siemens, Bernard Hodes Group and a host of startup companies. During his tenure with Randstad Sourceright, he alleviated the recruitment headaches of their clients worldwide as their Global Head of Sourcing and Recruiting Strategy.  He now serves ClickIQ as its VP, Product Evangelist.

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

Hi, I’m Jim Stroud and this is my podcast.

If you have a social media account or a cell phone or an internet connection, then you have no privacy. I’m pretty sure you can agree with me there. Do a search on Duck Duck Go or some other search engine for “Facebook scandal,” “cell phone privacy scandal,” or “data hacked” and you will no doubt agree with me. But have you ever considered your lack of privacy in the workplace? I’m going to share with you three stories and I want you to figure out whether or not they are true or false. The first story begins after this special message…

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A certain man is interviewing for a job for a rather progressive company. How progressive are they? Rather than relying solely on resumes, they use a complex algorithm to scan a candidate’s social media accounts in order to discern their personality and cultural fit. Is this true or false?

This is true. Listen to a quote from The Wall Street Journal.

Nearly all Fortune 500 companies now use some form of automation — from robot avatars interviewing job candidates to computers weeding out potential employees by scanning keywords in resumes. And more and more companies are using artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to assess possible employees. DeepSense, based in San Francisco and India, helps hiring managers scan people’s social media accounts to surface underlying personality traits. The company says it uses a scientifically based personality test, and it can be done with or without a potential candidate’s knowledge. The practice is part of a general trend of some hiring companies to move away from assessing candidates based on their resumes and skills, towards making hiring decisions based on people’s personalities.

Story #2

A factory worker wears a helmet for safety reasons but, the helmet does more than protect the head from physical injury. It reads the brainwaves of the worker for changes in their mood and informs management of whether or not that worker should take a break, be reassigned or fired. Is this true or false?

This is true. Listen to this quote from the South China Morning Post.

On the surface, the production lines at Hangzhou (Hang-Joe) Zhongheng (joe-hung) Electric look like any other. Workers outfitted in uniforms, staff lines producing sophisticated equipment for telecommunication and other industrial sectors. But there’s one big difference – the workers wear caps to monitor their brainwaves, data that management then uses to adjust the pace of production and redesign workflows, according to the company. The company said it could increase the overall efficiency of the workers by manipulating the frequency and length of break times to reduce mental stress.

Hangzhou (Hang-Joe) Zhongheng (joe-hung) Electric is just one example of the large-scale application of brain surveillance devices to monitor people’s emotions and other mental activities in the workplace, according to scientists and companies involved in the government-backed projects. Concealed in regular safety helmets or uniform hats, these lightweight, wireless sensors constantly monitor the wearer’s brainwaves and stream the data to computers that use artificial intelligence algorithms to detect emotional spikes such as depression, anxiety or rage.

Story #3

Amazon is a master of efficiency. So much so, they recently patented a pair of Googles that will help its workers maneuver through their gigantic warehouses. If you were wearing these goggles, not only would you be more efficient, but the company would be able to monitor your every step. Is this true or false?

This is true. Listen to this quote from The Telegraph.

Amazon has sparked privacy concerns after filing a patent for augmented reality goggles that track the movement of warehouse workers. According to the patent, the e-commerce giant is interested in developing augmented reality goggles that workers could use to navigate through Amazon’s gigantic warehouses, guiding them to the right location. The patent, which was filed last year but made public on Thursday by the US Patents and Trademark Office, would mean the company could send orders to workers through visual cues. “In some embodiments […] the wearable computing device can be configured to provide worker instructions and/or visual indicators to a worker wearing the wearable computing device who is not moving or navigating through a fulfilment centre.” However, the patent application also states that the device could detect where a person is at all times and when they have stopped moving.

I suppose on some level; we are used to the idea of companies monitoring our emails and web activity; but what about those enterprises that seem to go the extra mile? How far is too far, when it comes to companies monitoring you? How concerned are you about your privacy at the office? No, really, I want to know. Leave me a comment? I want to know your point of view.

If you love what you heard, hate what you heard or, don’t know what you just heard, I want to know about it. You can reach me at my website – www.JimStroud.com. In addition to finding source material and related information for this podcast episode, you’ll find other goodies that I hope will make you smile. Oh, before I go, please financially support this podcast with a little somethin’-somethin’ in my virtual tip jar. (There’s a link in the podcast description.) Your generosity encourages me to keep this podcast train chugging down the track. Whoot-whoot, whoot-whoot, whoot-whoot…

Music related to this episode:

Wild Flower by Joakim Karud https://soundcloud.com/joakimkarud Creative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported— CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b… Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/AQWSIi1QU-o

Where Silence Is Nonexistent by A Himitsu https://soundcloud.com/a-himitsu Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b… Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/sXi_NANO3tA

S Strong – The Rover by S Strong https://soundcloud.com/s_strong Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b… Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/DhBCxKQPHiI

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