- How to watch ‘Game of Thrones’ season 8, episode 2 for free Today 7:00 AM
- Gendry is making a new weapon for Arya Stark—but what is it? Today 6:30 AM
- The live-action Halo series could be Showtime’s most ambitious project yet Today 6:00 AM
- How to watch Turner Classic Movies for free Today 5:30 AM
- How to watch Real Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao online for free Today 5:00 AM
- ‘Star Trek’s Jonathan Frakes calls out your lies with this new meme Saturday 3:46 PM
- #JusticeForLucca trends after video shows police slam Black teen’s head into pavement Saturday 3:11 PM
- The internet is shocked to learn that Goombas do, in fact, have arms Saturday 2:02 PM
- PayPal, GoFundMe cut off armed militia that detains migrants at border Saturday 1:16 PM
- Barnwood theft may be on the rise because of ‘Fixer Upper’—and fans aren’t having it Saturday 12:23 PM
- Literary Twitter calls out Dzanc Books for Islamophobic, racist novel Saturday 11:40 AM
- How to watch Crawford vs. Khan online Saturday 10:00 AM
- Beyoncé has 2 more projects coming to Netflix after ‘Homecoming’ Saturday 9:53 AM
- How to watch Danny Garcia vs. Adrian Granados for free Saturday 9:00 AM
- The ‘Feeling Cute Challenge’ turns ugly after correctional officers abuse it Saturday 7:30 AM
Walmart could soon be spying on employees and customers at its checkout lines
People of Walmart, beware. The corporate overlords might have more insight into your shopping experience than you ever wanted.
The retail giant has just been awarded a patent for audio sensor technology for monitoring transactions at the checkout counter. According to a report in BuzzFeed, the “listening to the frontend” tech would deploy a number of sensors near checkout lanes in order to pick up audio cues like the beeping of items being scanned and the rustling of plastic bags to calculate data like number of transactions, number of bags used, and other “performance metrics” of employee efficiency.
Many stores include cashier metrics as part of their performance tracking, including number of transactions per hour, number of in-store credit card applications processed, and similar stats. What makes this tech different is the surveillance mode of data acquisition—and how it might overreach. There’s speculation that the sensors could also pick up on conversations with customers, the idea being that a sensor could tell whether each customer was appropriately greeted at the start of the transaction.
Granted, for now the patent is only just that: an idea, with no concrete plans for development. In some ways, it’s similar to the patent Amazon won in February for tracking employees’ movements within warehouses. As brick-and-mortar retail stores and the online behemoth wage war for customers, employee efficiency is one of the many levers the companies are trying to pull to emerge on top.
But studies suggest the efforts could backfire. Ifeoma Ajunwa, an assistant professor at Cornell who studies labor relations, explained the “psychological impact of pervasive surveillance” to BuzzFeed, noting that monitoring “can lead to this opposition feeling, where employees view the employer not as benevolent, but as dictators” and can even cause some employees to slow down.
- Uber is teaming up with Walmart for grocery deliveries
- Walmart ushers in new era of laziness with patent for self-driving shopping carts
- Amazon patent describes a system for tracking workers’ movements
H/T Splinter News
Monica Riese now serves as the Daily Dot’s director of production, having previously been the publication’s entertainment editor and assistant managing editor. She is based in Austin, Texas, and formerly contributed to the Austin Chronicle, where her breaking news work was recognized by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.