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NEWSLETTERS & ALERTS
‘Big Brother’ Surveillance at Barclays
by Howard Haykin
You can’t blame some London-based Barclays investment bankers for feeling ‘hot under the collar’ these days. That’s because the bank has installed OccupEye, the heat- and motion-sensing device that tracks how often employees are at their desks. The black-box devices, manufactured by Blackburn, U.K.-based Cad-Capture, are affixed to the underside of office desks.
Barclays bank, which informally notified its staff and an employee union about the “phased roll-out” of the devices, claims that “the sensors aren’t monitoring people or their productivity; they are assessing office space usage.” Which, according to the bank, means that it plans on using the data from boxes “to reduce costs, for example, managing energy consumption, or identifying opportunities to further adopt flexible work environments.”
Bloomberg News reached out to 10 other banks to learn whether they, too, use tracking devices on their London-based employees. Here's what they found:
- JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, HSBC Holdings, Royal Bank of Scotland do not currently use any kind of desk monitoring.
- Lloyds Bank uses similar motion-tracking devices.
- Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley did not immediately respond to requests for comment.