Careful what you say around a Walmart cashier...
Walmart has patented surveillance technology that would allow it to spy on employees’ conversations with customers and use the audio to measure workplace performance.
The patent filed this week described a system of sensors “distributed throughout at least a portion of a shopping facility”.
According to Engadget, this new system is "composed of several sensors that can collect all kinds of audio data, including beeps and the rustling of paper bags."
Hmm... So... why does Walmart need or even want to use this?
Probably because now any data their system gathers can be used to access an employee's job performance.
"For instance, the sounds items make when they're placed inside a bag can tell the company how efficient someone is at bagging purchases. Customers' voices can also indicate how long a line is and how quickly a cashier can get through all of them."
Walmart said in a statement that the patent is a “concept that would help us gather metrics and improve the checkout process by listening to sounds produced by the bags, carts and cash registers and not intended for any other use."
“We file patents frequently but that doesn’t mean the patents will actually be implemented. We’re always thinking about new concepts and ways that will help us further enhance how we serve customers.”
Do you think Walmart has a right to spy on employees like this?