MALICIOUS: THE LANGUAGE OF TECH SURVEILLANCE

Following last week’s report on Cole’s partnership with Palantir Technologies, a US defence contractor, to install ‘bossware’ in their supermarkets, researchers are warning human resources (HR) managers about the language used by tech companies to promote surveillance and monitoring tools, likening it to the language of ‘espionage.’

These tools, promoted as enhancing management control, are framing employees as threats and fostering an antagonistic relationship with workers.

The study, presented earlier this month at a conference in Perth run by The Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand (AIRAANZ), analysed HR technology websites and found they emphasise managerial control while portraying workers as unproductive or even malicious.

The researchers stress the need for education of HR managers and organisations, as well as regulation to mitigate the potentially invasive and harmful use of these technologies.

They advocate for transparency, privacy protection, and fairness in performance management processes. Further research is planned to understand the impact of these technologies on workplaces and to inform policies for responsible adoption.

The research paper, 'Constructed Antagonism,' is under review and expected to be published soon.

Source: Workplace Express, 16 February

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