Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Sunday, November 12, 2017

How can an employer make sure its remote workers aren't slacking off? In the case of talent management company Crossover, the answer is to take photos of them every 10 minutes through their webcam. The pictures are taken by Crossover's productivity tool, WorkSmart, and combine with screenshots of their workstations along with other data -- including app use and keystrokes -- to come up with a "focus score" and an "intensity score" that can be used to assess the value of freelancers.

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To monitor productivity, software can measure proxies such as the number of emails being sent, websites visited, documents and apps opened and keystrokes. Over time it can build a picture of typical user behaviour and then alert when someone deviates. "If it's normal for you to send out 10 emails, type 5,000 keystrokes and be active on a computer for three hours a day, if all of a sudden you are only active for one hour or typing 1,000 keystrokes, there seems to be a dip in productivity," said [Awareness Technologies CEO Brad] Miller.

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Slowly but surely the march of dehumanization for profit continues.

#1 | Posted by jpw at 2017-11-12 02:35 PM | Reply

Every time I get a new laptop at work, I cover the webcam with a few layers of Scotch tape. Once in a while someone will notice and laugh and say something like "What do you think they are going to do?". I just say that most likely nothing but if I'm wrong, I don't have to worry about it because they won't be doing it to me.

#2 | Posted by Sully at 2017-11-12 02:49 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

I cover the webcam with a few layers of Scotch tape.

I use black electrical tape... blends in better.

#3 | Posted by REDIAL at 2017-11-12 03:09 PM | Reply

This has misuse and abuse written all over it.

#4 | Posted by SheepleSchism at 2017-11-12 03:15 PM | Reply

We were actually looking at a technology a while ago that tried to monitor worker's eyes to try to warn them if they were falling asleep.

#5 | Posted by REDIAL at 2017-11-12 03:18 PM | Reply

Whenever I have done freelance work it was always paid by the job so as long as I met the deadlines no one gave a crap about my productivity.

When I worked for TWC everything had a metric how long your calls were, how many you answered an hour, how long you took for bathroom/coffee breaks. I am sure they would jump on this technology. Not sure if Spectrum is better or not but if not I feel for the poor schmucks who will have just one more way to be monitored throughout the day.

#6 | Posted by TaoWarrior at 2017-11-12 03:23 PM | Reply

This has misuse and abuse written all over it.

#4 | POSTED BY SHEEPLESCHISM

I'm more worried about what it will do in regards to burning out employees.

If something like this becomes widespread, it won't take long before people become unemployable owing to being fired for "low productivity", when in reality it's simply them being human beings with a normal mental capacity prone to varying emotions, motivations or bandwidths.

In other words, it's trying to make people working in non-automated jobs into machines.

#7 | Posted by jpw at 2017-11-12 03:43 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

They need to monitor my Index finger

#8 | Posted by Pegasus at 2017-11-12 09:27 PM | Reply

When I worked for Shell Oil a lot of us worked remotely because we had to travel extensively. They had a software on our laptops that would let anyone in the company know how long we'd been signed out, inactive, or the laptop turned off. I used to place a sticky part of a post-it over the camera just for safe measures.

#9 | Posted by lfthndthrds at 2017-11-13 09:15 AM | Reply

Companies make the mistake of thinking that more data will give them more information about employees daily activities. In reality it just becomes unmanageable and pretty soon you'll need cameras watching the folks who watch the cameras.

#10 | Posted by danni at 2017-11-13 09:21 AM | Reply

People don't watch the cameras. AI does. It dumps it into a database and is easily quantified with a report. All of this is solely to figure out how much people don't work while being paid to work during the day. It doesn't always have negative outcomes. A Japanese company figured out their smokers were outside basically 6 days a year. Now the smokers are required to take a walk after smoking to de-stink themselves, and everybody else received 6 extra vacation days a year.

#11 | Posted by sitzkrieg at 2017-11-13 01:44 PM | Reply

- It doesn't always have negative outcomes.

It will, in the right hands.

#12 | Posted by SheepleSchism at 2017-11-13 05:00 PM | Reply

This has misuse and abuse written all over it.

#4 | Posted by SheepleSchism

Well, then I am sure some humpy trumpy fundie freak has already requested it be installed in some teenage locker room somewhere.

After all...Why do we have web cams if we can't use them?

#13 | Posted by donnerboy at 2017-11-13 06:16 PM | Reply

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