Walmart patents point-of-sale audio monitoring


In July 2018 Walmart filed a patent on a system of sensors that would gather conversations between cashiers and customers, the rattle of bags, and other audio data to monitor employee performance. Earlier in 2018, Amazon was awarded a patent on a wristaband that would monitor and guide workers in processing items. UPS uses sensors to monitor whether its drivers are wearing seatbelts and when they open and close truck doors. All these examples, along with others such as technology that allows companies to watch workplace keyboards and monitor how much time workers spend at their desks, demonstrate the expansion of workplace surveillance. Walmart said it might never implement the patent, but the concept was to help decrease store costs and make customers happier. Privacy advocates expressed concern that customers' conversations among themselves could be recorded without their knowledge.

writer: Jena McGregor

Publication: Washington Post

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