Big Brother is watching you!

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This post is not to do with product development technology per se, but a press release I found in my inbox this morning really quite disturbed me. Spector 360 Corporate Monitoring software uncovers Internet abuse, lost productivity, data leaks and other inappropriate activities, so says the marketing spiel. In other words it spies on employees.

It can tell which employees are spending the most time surfing the Internet, which employees are chatting the most, who is typing the most keystrokes, who is downloading music and other large files, who is taking the longest breaks, and who is leaving work early. Who knows, soon it might be able to tell who is doing the least Boolean operations per hour.

Now call me traditional, and maybe a bit naive, but what happened to good old fashioned management? What about engaging with employees on a day to day basis to encourage, and motivate and get the most out of them, rather than beating them with an Orwellian type stick if they take their hands off the keyboard for more than five minutes. It worries me.

If I was an employee at a company that utilised such technology I know I’d have real trouble relaxing, knowing that I was being seen as a mere statistic as my every action is recorded, logged and analysed by a faceless manager who lives in a box. And when I’m not relaxed the quality of my work suffers.

But never mind, eh, as long as I’m churning out my 40 words per minute I should be able to keep the Thought Police at bay – for a while, at least, until they realise I’m not actually writing about product development technology after all, and then it’s Room 101 for me and my thoughtcrimes. Bad citizen!