Collecting Data on Employees: Cutting-Edge or Creepy?

Do you hog office conversations or are you quiet? Are you calm as a cucumber or do you fidget under stress? Where do you go? How much time do you spend there?

Believe it or not, employee badges can now answer all of these questions. Swipe cards similar to the ones you use to enter your office building are being used by some companies to collect data on employees. The badges look like normal ID badges but contain radio-frequency identification and near-field communication sensors, Bluetooth for proximity sensing, infrared to detect face-to-face interaction, an accelerometer to measure movement, and two microphones to identify who speaks to whom and for how long.

With the growing popularity of Fitbits and other wearables that collect data, a smart badge in and of itself isn’t that radical of an idea — but the unsettling bit is whether that data should be going to employers.

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