Privacy in America has become a major concern over the last decade. The internet and social media are making it increasingly difficult to keep our lives away from prying eyes. Everything from the Patriot Act to the NSA collecting phone records has many wondering if privacy even still exists. Now Walmart is looking to eavesdrop on their employees.
Today, Think Progress reported that Walmart has patented a new eavesdropping technology that will allow the company to listen in on their workers. According to the report, the technology will allow Walmart to hear conversations at the cash register between workers and customers. The system could potentially, allow the company to hear conversations between workers, as well.
This is not the first time the retail juggernaut has attempted to spy on its workforce. In 2012, Walmart hired defense contractor, Lockheed Martin, to spy on employees. Walmart wanted intelligence on employees who may try to organize workers or disrupt business. It was previously reported by Bloomberg that Walmart also turned to the FBI to help spy on activist employees.
One of Walmart’s big concerns was the activist group, OURWalmart, which protests unfair wages and tries to organize Walmart workers. Their concern was so great that Walmart called on its “Delta teams” to monitor employees. This includes spying on employee social media accounts, tracking employee movements, and tracking the movements of employees who protest.
This new development will no doubt raise concerns about privacy and employee rights. Although, it is not certain when and if the new technology will be used, the simple fact that it has been patented is probably enough to cause Walmart’s critics to raise the temperature on their hatred for the company.
Privacy is delicate, and whether, it is threatened by the government or a private company, people will raise the alarm and voice their concerns. This is certainly a story to keep watching.