Will Your Employer Start Checking Your Pulse At Work?

from the buhdump,-buhdump dept

Over the years, several companies have experimented with high-tech ways of closely monitoring the actions of their employees, but it's never been clear that this does much good. In addition to the direct cost of whatever technology is used, it can also breed resentment among employees who aren't crazy about the fact that they're always being monitored. One company is hoping to find a market for a system that will constantly measure the heart rates of all of a company's employees. The idea is that if someone's heart rate spikes dramatically, it's a sign that something serious is occurring. Perhaps they're being robbed, or maybe they're committing a crime themselves. The company believes its primary customers will be places like casinos and banks, which have very high security needs and a number of customer-facing employees. Again, though, this technology seems certain to make employees uncomfortable, since nobody will be eager to wear a bracelet constantly measuring their pulse. It also seems likely that the system will be plagued by false alerts. Heart rates can jump around for a number of reasons, and it will be a waste of resources if security teams spring into action every time an employee gets excited.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Mar 2007 @ 6:14am

    But realistically, there's lots of evidence that a person can train themselves to conciously control their heartrate. And undoubtedly one of the cost justifications of a system like this is to pare down security headcount by using fewer guards and focusing on probables flagged by the monitoring system. But if you can generate lots of false positives (send in a herd of strippers and watch all the hetero males rates spike) or if you can suppress your own heart rate, a system like this is less secure than just having a lot of random observant eyes roaming around. And the cost of implementation, coupled with the increased cost of labor (you'll have to pay more to get people to wear a monitor when other places aren't requiring it) seems like it would only make it worthwhile for businesses with a big chance of getting hit for a big loss by a single employee incident, but those same businesses give crooked employees a pretty good incentive to devise extreme means to defeat their security.

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