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Big Brother is Watching

Despite the fact that I’m pretty much constantly on camera when at work, or even just out and about running errands, it’s never been something that irritated me or even something I thought about often. I know the security cameras are present in public places to protect the interests of the company, and to a certain extent, serve as a form of protection for employees and shoppers.

eye in the skyWith that being said, the newest addition at my work is something that drives me a little crazy: a wi-fi enabled camera that anyone with a login can access from a smart phone or web browser (ie: management).

I like the idea of a camera that can be accessed on the go, and see the value of someone having such a device to watch what happens when they aren’t home– I may or may not have actually considered getting one to install at my apartment to watch the cats when I’m at work– but knowing that this new camera in my workplace is mainly there to act as a babysitter just doesn’t sit well with me for some reason.

The new camera doesn’t even point directly at me or even the area where my computer is set up, but it has a feature that the generic store security cameras do not have: a microphone that will pick up conversations up to 20 feet away.

The addition of a microphone is the part that I really am not a fan of, not because I say things that I wouldn’t want heard or recorded, but because it just feels like an invasion to my privacy.

A few of my co-workers have already figured out ways to mess with the camera, and we quickly learned that the easiest way to drown out the audio is to simply turn on music at a fairly loud level near the camera. Knowing that other co-workers are also weary of the new camera is a little comforting, as at least I know I’m not alone in feeling creeped out by the thought of Big Brother watching.

I’m sure one the “eye in the sky” has been up for a few weeks I’ll learn to adapt and ignore the intrusion, but until then, I’ll have to stay on my toes and mind my P’s and Q’s while at work.

Has your workplace ever installed something similar to this Big Brother-esque camera, or would you ever consider installing one of these yourself?

Responses (3)

  1. JT says:

    My first post-college job was at a casino as a “marketing representative”, which meant working from 10 pm to 6 am swiping loyalty cards, printing vouchers for hot dogs, and wishing gamblers “good luck”. A casino is a place of zero privacy – and the department shift super would call us several times a shift to note bad posture, distractedness, or complain that it was too obvious I was reading a book sitting on top of my keyboard while no one was in line (I figured if I moved my hands enough it looked like I was diligently typing). One call was to note my company issued suit-jacket was buttoned incorrectly – and that would earn me a dress code violation, meaning I’d have to come in early the next night to attend a 1 hour video on proper dress code. I resigned the next day.

    There’s use and there’s abuse. I think a certain level of trust has to be offered to employees in order to expect a certain level of discipline. The best, most diligent employee in your company will start to goof up if his or her boss stands over the shoulder reading out loud every note the employee is typing.

    I realize this is like the third time I’ve posted on your blog – I’m a friend of Jamey’s (I noted on FB that my wife often wins Viticulture with the card that you sponsored).

    • Katy says:

      Oh, I agree completely about your point regarding trust given to employees, and for the most part don’t mind being on camera all day long. I think it was just knowing that instead of the faceless entities at corporate watching the cameras, there is now a way for people in management that I actually know and work with daily to check in even when they aren’t on the premises.

      And JT, I’m glad that you’ve felt compelled to comment on here, and don’t mind at all having friends of Jamey moseying over to my little blog. 🙂

      • JT says:

        What would you think of two-way cameras, ie Skyping, so that you can communicate with corporate directly?

        Also, did you ever talk up what you saw and did at GenCon? Obviously helped Jamey and Alan out with Euphoria. Did you, by chance, try Serpent’s Tongue?

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