New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is learning the hard way that workers don’t like bosses snooping on them.
Hizzoner the Mayor has taken $180 million from the city’s meager treasury to buy a state-of the-art electronic system to track the comings and goings of city employees. He’s already introduced the spy system in one agency, and it has created an uproar of protest, particularly over forcing employees to have their hands electronically scanned every time they enter or leave their work pods. Called biometrics, this system digitally records workers’ hands, faces, irises, or other unique body parts, then use your own uniqueness to track them like sheep.
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The mayor’s spokesman says workers should be grateful, for this computerized system lets administrators monitor each employee’s attendance, time, and leave more efficiently. Oh, well, okay then – if it’s more efficient, feel free to take my handprint, or why not just implant an electronic tag in my brain? (Before you scoff at that last item, let me note that nurses in a Brooklyn hospital are already required to carry radio-frequency ID tags that allow all of their movements to be tracked.)
The mayor’s wholesale invasion of workplace privacy is made more outrageous by the fact that top managers are exempt from the digital scanning. Also rankling is that this biometrics contract went to SAIC, a corporation infamous for doing high-tech snooping on us citizens for the Pentagon and CIA.
We have to resist autocracy at every turn especially when its only rationale is greater “efficiency.” After all, in these modern times, the devil always does his work in the name of efficiency. So, stand up for what is yours – as one city worker says of Bloomberg’s scheme, “The body of my person, which includes my palm, belongs to me, and me alone. It is private.”
“New York City Pus Millions Into High-Tech Worker Tracking,” The New York Times, January 23, 2007.
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