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Japanese phonemaker KDDI has figured out how to use accelerometers to track what employees are doing. Big corporations may soon be watching you in the future.  (Source: Funponsel)
New system will allow your boss to spy on what you're doing at all times, measure how busy you are at work

In Japan, "Big Brother" has been replaced by big corporations.  In the land of the rising sun, powerful corporations like Toyota, Honda, Sony, and Nintendo command enormous power and control over their employees.  Companies in many cases go so far as to provide arranged marriages for single workers and housing for employees.  The price of such personal attention, however, is a level of scrutiny that most people here in the U.S. would find unsettling.

Japanese phone giant KDDI has just given employers a new means to scrutinize their employees, unveiling a new smartphone platform that allows companies to monitor cell phones' accelerometers and track what their employees are doing.  

KDDI will offer the phones, presumably to companies would make them mandatory for workers.  The phone firmware sends logs of accelerometer data to a central database for processing.  KDDI has identified patterns for common activities like walking, climbing stairs, or even cleaning.  Even precise cleaning activities like scrubbing, sweeping, or emptying waste baskets can be picked up.

Combined with GPS tracking, the platform could give employers an unprecedented and largely automated way to cheaply and efficiently track workers and digitally snoop on their performance.

Describes Philip Sugai, director of the mobile consumer lab at the International University of Japan, "Technically, I think this is an incredibly important innovation.  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 optimization."

While medical applications seem quite promising, KDDI plans to primarily try to sell the service as to managers, foremen and employment agencies looking to snoop on workers.  Hiroyuki Yokoyama, head of web data research at KKDI's research labs in Tokyo describes, "It's part of our research into a total ubiquitous technology society, and activity recognition is an important part of that.  Because this technology will make central monitoring possible with workers at several different locations, businesses especially are very interested in using such technology to improve the efficiency of their workers.  We are now at a stage where we can offer managers a chance to analyze more closely the behavior of staff."

He says the system does not violate workers' privacy rights.  He states, "Of course there are privacy issues and any employers should really enter into an agreement with employees before using such a system.  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."

Kazuo Hizumi, a leading human rights lawyer in Japan is among those unsettled by the technology, though, and doesn't think there's anything "mothering" about it.  He states, "This is treating people like machines, like so many cattle to be monitored and watched over.  New technology should be used to improve our lives not to spy on us.  It beggars belief that a prominent company such as KDDI could come up with such a surveillance system. It's totally irresponsible.  I'm afraid ordinary citizens don't care about this lack of rights. Consequently because of technology like this, Japan is heading for the Dark Ages."

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RE: Patterns for common activities
By ClownPuncher on 3/11/2010 3:22:27 PM , Rating: 5

Though, one has to wonder how much micromanagement benefits your company...

I have a company cell, and it would go in the toilet if this were implemented at my job.

RE: Patterns for common activities
By chagrinnin on 3/11/2010 5:33:36 PM , Rating: 5
ClownPuncher returns to his office to find his boss rifling through his desk....

ClownPuncher: Hey,....!?!

Boss: Oh! Heeeeyyyyy,...uhh..I was,..uh,..just,..uh,...I thought you were at the sewage treatment plant!?

RE: Patterns for common activities
By Souka on 3/11/2010 6:13:36 PM , Rating: 2
I used to work with a large wholesale food company, in which all the truck drivers had Blackberries.

With the 4.x OS, and internal GPS, we enabled tracking on the phones...which then was fed into a realtime tracking database & mapping software.

This allowed us to keep tabs on the truckers for various reasons: speeding, unathorized routes, taking naps instead of working, going to strip clubs, etc.

I saw the driver (from emails left on the HR printer) were pretty amazing/ A married truck driver on the wrong side of town from his delivery route, parked in front of a cheap hotel....later to learn he was trading drugs for sex with a prostitute. Authorities searched truck and locker at work, arrested him on those accounts. The other data was made public at this trial...I'd imagine he's no longer married.

And this was about 2 years tech is already here in the US.

Hell, we have schools turning on the webcams remotely...."oh sorry, I didn't see you getting dressed after that shower" said the principal. (the shower thing I made up, the webcam being turned on was a real news story).

RE: Patterns for common activities
By whiskerwill on 3/11/10, Rating: -1
RE: Patterns for common activities
By mindless1 on 3/11/2010 6:44:03 PM , Rating: 5
Unfortunately you are wrong. Many companies in the orient aren't just trying to make sure you do your job, they are pushing, harassing, and worse to try to inhumanely make employees suffer to their personal benefit.

Tech is suppose to enhance our lives, not make us slaves.

RE: Patterns for common activities
By afkrotch on 3/11/2010 7:30:56 PM , Rating: 2
You obviously haven't see movies about robots taking over the world.

RE: Patterns for common activities
By sigilscience on 3/11/10, Rating: -1
RE: Patterns for common activities
By afkrotch on 3/11/2010 10:08:35 PM , Rating: 4
I always wondered what regions Oriental covers. I mean, Russia, India, Iraq, Turkey, etc are Asian nations.

Does Oriental only cover those you think actually fall under popular Asian classification? Like Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Thai, etc?

I mean an Iraqi is usually called a Middle Eastern, but they are Asian.

Oh, I'm also Laotian, so I guess I'd be called a gook, if he wanted to start name calling.

RE: Patterns for common activities
By Hyperion1400 on 3/11/2010 11:54:25 PM , Rating: 5

Vietnamese are gooks. Anyway, if I wanted to be derogatory I would just ask if you were Chinese or Japanese. And, when you responded by saying you were Laotian, I would reply, "What ocean?"

(Somebody better get that reference!)

Also, Russia is half-and-half and India is it's own sub-continent and it's people are therefore not Asian.

By Reclaimer77 on 3/12/2010 8:01:02 AM , Rating: 2
(Somebody better get that reference!)

King of the Hill :D

By frobizzle on 3/12/2010 12:16:12 PM , Rating: 3
Hank Hill: So are you Chinese or Japanese?
Minh Souphanousinphone: No, we are Laotian.
Bill Dauterive: The ocean? What ocean?
Kahn Souphanousinphone: From Laos, stupid! It's a landlocked country in South East Asia between Vietnam and Thailand, population approximately 4.7 million!

Hank ponders this for a few seconds.

Hank Hill: So are you Chinese or Japanese?
Khan Souphanousinphone: : D'oh!

RE: Patterns for common activities
By Belard on 3/12/2010 2:37:38 AM , Rating: 3
Get over it... "The Orient" isn't insulting. Its kind of like the issue of "negro, black, African American, darkie" or "midget, little people, little person, short stuff" or "yellow skin, slanty eye"... gee, depending on who you talk to, one word may insult the person while not someone else.

Japan is the porn capital of the world with cute girls, isn't that something?

BTW: I date(d) blacks, shortish, brown, yellow (Oriental / Asian) and even white women. I ask them out because they were attractive or sexy... I'm not usually thinking about their race. One of my female friends (a Vietnamese 20yr old) and I are laughing outside making fun of Asian stereotypes because someone had a bug about some racial issue.

The world is a lot smaller place. We're all the same color on the inside... well a bit deeper inside.

RE: Patterns for common activities
By mindless1 on 3/13/2010 12:07:07 AM , Rating: 4
The orient is a region. If you actually think it is insulting racism or outdated to refer to a region of the world then it's your personal problem, not ours.

Thanks for trolling though, we don't have enough of THAT around here.

RE: Patterns for common activities
By porkpie on 3/13/2010 12:18:49 AM , Rating: 1
Regardless of what you might think, the term "oriental" is widely considered pejorative today. So much so, in fact, that the state of Washington banned its usage several years ago:

By mindless1 on 3/15/2010 1:38:30 AM , Rating: 2
"Oriental" != "orient".

There is a difference between referring to a region of the world and referring to people in a negative context.

How insane is this argument?

Do those living in the Americas get insulted if they are referred to as living there? Do Europeans get insulted if referred to as Europeans?

I can't even believe such madness exists today on the internet!

RE: Patterns for common activities
By Dark Legion on 3/13/10, Rating: 0
RE: Patterns for common activities
By mindless1 on 3/15/2010 1:44:41 AM , Rating: 2
Oh how wrong you are!

If I refer to someone living in Africa as being African, THAT is the same thing... because that is the region they live in.

It's sad so many people are so dumb.

By mindless1 on 3/17/2010 4:54:45 AM , Rating: 2
^ I mean knee-jerk racists, NOT Africans.

I do not feel that the region where someone is born has anything to do with their morality, intelligence, or potential.

BUT, I do think the internet seems to make everyone dumber than they would otherwise be.

By Dark Legion on 3/19/2010 1:18:24 AM , Rating: 2
Hence Asian, not Oriental. And if that is not specific enough you have Eurasia, Southeast Asia, Middle East, or even simply the country. By current terminology, those are (some of) the regions that Oriental originally referred to. Not only that, Oriental is a pejorative word; the regions it referred to changed changed over time, and it developed a negative connotation as well.

I do not feel that the region where someone is born has anything to do with their morality, intelligence, or potential.

I feel the same way, but I think not only of how I feel about a certain word, but also whether or not other people will be offended if I choose to use that term.

RE: Patterns for common activities
By Aloonatic on 3/11/2010 7:58:31 PM , Rating: 4
If the floors are clean, then they are doing their job, if they aren't, then they aren't. If the food's not getting delivered, they they aren't doing their job properly either. It's not rocket science. Monitoring like this is done for other reasons, probably left to people with a better understanding of psychological disorders than I have, but it's not just a simple mater o productivity, there is a lot of other more complex and deeper routed issues going on.

This is kinda like key-logging, but for manual labour. I'm sure that you would not want all your activities to be logged and monitored at work either. Maybe people will think it is different though, as it's a blue-collar thing?

It's sad that we continue to quickly move down a route where we stop seeing each other as people, but economic entities instead, that only exist to make more money from.

I'm not saying that people should be allowed to get away with not doing their job or anything, but tagging and monitoring people this closely makes me a little uneasy.

As for government monitoring being different. When you use this tech to monitor your property, sorry, I mean employees, then it makes it harder for you to argue against the government doing the same to you. If all these people are being monitored by their bosses, then why should they vote against something that means that their bosses get treated the same way too?

RE: Patterns for common activities
By whiskerwill on 3/11/2010 8:13:58 PM , Rating: 1
f the floors are clean, then they are doing their job. If the food's not getting delivered, they aren't...
The real world isn't like that. If you hire 20 people to clean, and the place gets cleaned, how do you know if one of the people let the other 19 pick up his slack?

If a guy comes back in 10 hours with the food delivered saying traffic was hell, how do you know whether he spent 5 hours in a cheap motel somewhere?

We wouldn't have these problems if our idiot govt didn't have so many restrictions on paying emmployees by the job rather than by the hour. But we do, and millions of employees slack, and millions of employers try to prevent that. If technology can help that, I'm all for it.

When you use this tech to monitor your property, sorry, I mean employees, then it makes it harder for you to argue against the government doing the same to you
No it doesn't. You CHOOSE to get a job. The government can FORCE you to be monitored. The line is black and white.

RE: Patterns for common activities
By Aloonatic on 3/11/2010 8:54:13 PM , Rating: 4
It really is not as complicated as you think, and it doesn't need this level of monitoring, if mangers/you are doing your jobs properly that is. If you want motivated employees who do their jobs properly too, there are far better ways of doing it than trying to turn them into heavily monitored machines. The worse you treat people, the poorer their conditions, the more they are to slack, or rebel in some other way. This sort of tech is just a cheap solution to a problem that would/should be handled better.

Your traffic/motel situation could easily be checked these days by monitoring the roads o the internet or some other means too, without having to resort to this level of personal monitoring. Vehicle monitoring is something that is different to what this article is about anyway, as this is monitoring actual people and what they are doing in far greater detail.

You may well be someone's employee too. Do you work 100% of the time available to you while your at work, and be as productive as it is possible for you to be? The 2 things are often not the same, or possible to achieve. You might spend a few minutes a day on DT and other web sites, but what your boss might also find is that you are actually more productive in the allotted time because of it, compared to you being monitored and check on all the time, so you can't have a quick peek and discuss articles on here.

Also, People NEED jobs. 1 company employs this tech, other probably will too. Even then, the real world isn't as simple as "just get another job". Many people can be FORCED by their employer too, in the real world, to do certain things that they shouldn't. But as I said, many people here probably don't care, or even think it's a problem because they are just blue-collar bozos, so have less rights.

Anyway, that wasn't the point that I'm making. I'm saying that if you treat a large number of the population like this, then you are just putting yourself in the firing line later on. If your government wanted to, they may well find some excuse to do this to you. As you are already treating people like this in your work place, why would those people do anything to stop it from happening to you? It also makes it harder (only harder, not imopssible/that you can't) for you to argue against it further down the line. That it isn't you being affected by this right now, or tomorrow, doesn't mean that you will not be later on.

RE: Patterns for common activities
By porkpie on 3/11/2010 9:45:54 PM , Rating: 2
" it doesn't need this level of monitoring, if mangers/you are doing your jobs properly that is."

If people always did their job properly, there would be no need for managers. Technology like this can allow a company to hire fewer managers per employee, which results in higher productivity and lower costs. Ultimately, that's good for all of us.

"Vehicle monitoring is something that is different to what this article is about "

Only in degree, not in kind. And as I recall, many people complained about employee vehicle monitoring when it first came out too. Yet most large firms use it now to some degree, and the world hasn't collapsed as a result.

"People NEED jobs. "

It's not a company's responsibility to give you a job because you "need" it. And if you can't find a job that appeals to your sense of personal freedom, I suggest you do what millions of entrepreneurs have already done, and start your own company.

If you ever do, and find your own employees slacking off on YOUR money, I strongly suspect your opinions will change somewhat.

RE: Patterns for common activities
By MadMan007 on 3/11/10, Rating: 0
RE: Patterns for common activities
By porkpie on 3/11/2010 11:31:11 PM , Rating: 1
Since I own the company, they probably do.

In any case, I spend less time than you think...typing at nearly 100wpm helps.

RE: Patterns for common activities
By ekv on 3/12/2010 3:05:54 AM , Rating: 2
Lol 8)

I was curious about that.

For some reason you remind me of T. J. Rodgers....

RE: Patterns for common activities
By siuol11 on 3/12/2010 4:21:47 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sure that they really appreciate a diligent boss, and your company totally won't be sued for an invasion of privacy when you invariably use such a system for your own personal gain.
Oh, and if you didn't grasp the concept, that's the other 50% of why so many people dislike such systems- they are so ripe for abuse.

RE: Patterns for common activities
By Kurz on 3/12/2010 10:26:59 AM , Rating: 2
Damn I wonder how working for Porkpie would be.
Would I be able to go to daily tech?

Still 100 wpm... I top off at 50 wpm.

RE: Patterns for common activities
By Camikazi on 3/11/2010 8:02:42 PM , Rating: 2
Wasn't there a story where one kid was suspended for doing something they considered inappropriate while at home? Obviously not a stolen laptop and they turned on the webcam anyway.

By whiskerwill on 3/11/2010 8:22:24 PM , Rating: 2
From what I gathered, the laptop turned up missing and the school turned on the webcam to find it. They saw what was probably the guy whacking off to some porn (code name 'inappropriate behavior') using school property.

As light as all the stories were on details though I think its very premature to conclude the school was in the right or wrong.

RE: Patterns for common activities
By siuol11 on 3/12/2010 4:16:25 AM , Rating: 1
Wrong on that one sparky. Although that was the official claim made by the school, it turned out to be a bag of horseshit. Here's a the creepy-as-hell side to it, as told by a hacker.

RE: Patterns for common activities
By porkpie on 3/12/2010 9:50:06 AM , Rating: 1
While the school may or may not be guilty, I don't see anything in that post that demonstrates it one way or another.

RE: Patterns for common activities
By siuol11 on 3/14/2010 4:15:05 PM , Rating: 2
Then you didn't read it.

RE: Patterns for common activities
By porkpie on 3/14/2010 9:52:26 PM , Rating: 2
While your post is a stunning example of brevity in expression, the fact remains that I did read the blog. The author certainly comes off as highly offended, but the only 'evidence' he seems to have is that someone who works for the school once posted a video noting that the software product in question (LanRev) can be used for remote monitoring.

All in all, its very mildly incriminating for the person in question, and says nothing whatsoever about official actions sanctioned by the school itself.

If you consider this as "proof" of anything, god help us if you ever serve on a jury.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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