KDDI Corporation is one of the biggest phone companies in Japan and they’ve developed a phone that can track every movement of the person using their phone and send the information back to their boss.
It works by analysing the movement of accelerometers, found in many handsets.
Activities such as walking, climbing stairs or even cleaning can be identified, the researchers say.
The KDDI system, is able to detect more complex behaviour by using analytical software – held on a server back at base – to match patterns of common movements.
For example, the KDDI mobile phone strapped to a cleaning worker’s waist can tell the difference between actions performed such as scrubbing, sweeping, walking an even emptying a rubbish bin.
Most businesses say they want to use the technology to make their workers more efficient. Such notions may work in Japan, but, in the rest of the world, workers will only feel like they are being spied upon and not trusted with the work they have been given.
“For example, when applied to the issue of telemedicine, or other situations in which remotely monitoring or accessing an individual’s personal movements is vital to that service.
“But there will surely be negative consequences when applied to employee tracking or salesforce optimisation.”
Yes, because, as humans, we can’t seem to just use these technologies for good. We also find every evil use of any new device that is invented.
“Of course there are privacy issues and any employers should really enter into an agreement with employees before using such a system,” Mr Yokoyama told BBC News.
“But this is not about curtailing employees’ rights to privacy. We’d rather like to think our creation more of a caring, mothering system rather than a Big Brother approach to watching over citizens.”
The privacy issue will be raised in places like America where this technology will be mandatory at work. Yes, you would need to sign a legal paper saying you agreed to be monitored before your employer can use the device. However, an employer can easily make wearing and/or carrying it a requirement of employment. Then you really have no choice.
People do not like being monitored. They do not like being treated like cattle. And they certainly do not appreciate their bosses breathing down their neck, watching for a minor mistake that could end up costing them their job.
Once workers start objecting to this phone, KDDI will turn their marketing towards parents and exclaim how great it is to keep track of their children in such “troubled” times.