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January 17th, 2008
05:02 PM ET

'Big Brother' becoming your boss?

ALT TEXT

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Some are calling it "spyware”.

Microsoft is working on office software that can remotely monitor a worker's productivity, physical wellbeing and competence.

"The Times" of London reports that Microsoft has filed a patent application for this Big-Brother style computer system that would link workers to their computers through wireless sensors that measure their metabolism. It would then let managers monitor their employees' performance by measuring things like their heart rate, body temperature, movement, facial expression and blood pressure.

This use of this kind of technology has previously been limited to people like pilots, firefighters and NASA astronauts. It's believed to be the first time a company is proposing it for more mainstream use.

Critics say this kind of system would "take the idea of monitoring people at work to a new level.” They call it intrusive and say it raises serious privacy issues.

The U.S. patent office confirmed the application was published last month, and patent lawyers say it could be granted within a year.

Microsoft refused to comment on the patent application, but said they have over 7,000 patents worldwide and they are proud "of the quality of these patents and the innovations they represent.”

Here’s my question to you: Do you see anything wrong with office software that would allow managers to monitor their workers remotely?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Thomas from South Carolina writes:
A private employer should be able to monitor employees however it wants. If they cross the line, they will realize it when they don't have any employees left.

Max writes:
The fact of the matter is that too many people get by in the workplace by doing the bare minimum. That is one of the main problems with this country: every day it’s built deeper into the fabric of this society not to work hard, because someone else is working harder for you. A system like this would hopefully help raise productivity.

Annie writes:
Jack, I think we as human beings need to dig deeper to find our humanity these days, and this is a step as far in the opposite direction as we could possibly go. We need a follow up entitled "It's Gotten Even Uglier Out There (in a very short time)."

Suzanne writes:
This software sounds great. Let's get our elected officials in the pilot program.

Paul writes:
Spyware in the workplace that monitors physiology, productivity, etc., is absolutely ridiculous and revolting. Even if the employee voluntarily submitted to such a privacy intrusion, the legal implications are enormous. Its use should be prohibited by law.

John writes:
No, absolutely nothing wrong with it. It seems like the only people that don’t like being monitored are those that have performance problems.

Jose writes:
How will I then be able to coast through a workday for a job I'm under-qualified for? Surely I'm not the only one out there!

Gary writes:
In the old days, there was a guy with a whip to encourage you to row harder. Now a guy can use the whip remotely. That's what I call PROGRESS!


Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (155 Responses)
  1. Ralph

    Jack, I'm retired, but considering all the economic concerns that companies face today, combined with the fear of terrorism, I would not be surprised to see more software aimed at peaking into the personal lives of employees.

    January 17, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  2. Ron From Mechanicsville,VA

    Are you kidding? Come on! Supervision is the biggest problem in this country at the workplace, it doesn't happen! Or, it's done poorly! If you want to work alone, start your own business and then ask that question to yourself when yo have to hire employees. Americans need to get off their butts and off the internet and do their jobs. I don't see a thing wrong with it, Jack!

    January 17, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  3. Virginia

    Well, Jack, they feel like they need to watch us whizz to get the job...I am waiting for the corporate cavity checks here in the Land Of The Free soon.

    January 17, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  4. Patricia

    So long as it is in the work place they can try & spy on me all they want. But, those of us who are familiar with how to disable a web-cam really don't have to worry about this. But, this is a reason I never have bought a web-cam for my computer at home in the 1st place.

    January 17, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  5. James S. Lenon

    I see nothing wrong with such software. Those employees are being paid to do their employers' tasks, not to download music, shop online, or even stay updated on CNN's "breaking news."
    The real question becomes, can we, the voters, get this software to monitor our elected officials?

    January 17, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  6. Scott

    no jack i don't,i mean why wouldn't you want to make it easier for these people to earn their outrageous salary and bonuses for doing less. it's the American elite
    way.
    Scott bowling green, mo.

    January 17, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  7. Josh

    Well, yes because what people on their breaks is not the manager's business. This isn't Russia or China and management shouldn't spy on office workers period. This is the kind of behavior that only third world dictators do to their people to control them and we should discourage this.

    January 17, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  8. Jason

    Yes, it's very wrong! Can I see every thing my boss does every day too? Every American should real 1984.

    January 17, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  9. D Moore

    If I am paying my employees to use my computers to do a job for me, there is nothing wrong with making sure that those employees are doing what I am paying them to do on my dime.

    January 17, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  10. Ted, PDX

    Is there anyone out there so naive as to believe they can't/don't already do that? It's simple, Employers are entitled to a fair day's work for a fair wage. There is nothing wrong with making sure both parties keep their agreement. Besides, all of this software has been US Gov"t tested, long before business gets it anyway. The guys in the Black suburbans already know more about you than your employer.

    January 17, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  11. Karen

    We had that at work. They could actually take over the machine and type on our screens (get a grip, it was usually to crack a joke). They could tell who was playing games, etc, looking at porn. They could get in remotely and take care of computer problems. When I was working at home, it was convenient to be able to have them solve problems. They are unable to look at your home system. You must be logged into a work system.

    I don't like having to cover for people who would rather play solitaire, and take care of personal e-mail. I was actually using their computer, their system and EARNING MY PAYCHECK. I have no problem with this.

    Now I do have a problem with the new governmental push to prevent a cyber attack by sweeping all e-mails and internet searches. I am in the privacy of my own home, using my equipment and using services I pay for. Get out of my house.

    January 17, 2008 at 3:10 pm |
  12. Joy

    Personally, I think it's a great idea as long as the empoyee is aware his or her work is being monitored. I'm from the old school I got paid for doing my job, not sitting around shucking and jiving or scrolling the internet. Keeping an empoyee on their toes is a good thing!!!!!

    January 17, 2008 at 3:11 pm |
  13. W B in Las Vegas

    there is plenty wrong with it BUT when the Federal Government can spy on it's citizens without being required to get a FISA warrant, then I guess industry thinks it's OK.

    January 17, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  14. Ed Swift

    No. If you have something to hide, don't do it during working hours. I read CNN on line during my lunch time. I don't think my employer would be upset with that.

    January 17, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  15. DON, TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN

    Nothing MicroEvil does surprises me. Yet the invasion of privacy continues... Look at our own government! I fear for this country and the entire world.

    January 17, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  16. Dennis

    promotes production but leaves less time for imagination, depends on the work place. Its like they are shoving you into a smaller cubicle farther away from the window or reinstilling the responsibility that has long been forgotten. I'm up in the air about this one

    January 17, 2008 at 3:39 pm |
  17. Terry

    Jack
    If you are being paid to perform a task I dont see anything wrong with the person or persons that are paying you to also monitor you to insure that their dollars are well spent.

    January 17, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
  18. Greg from PA

    Not at all, Jack. When you are at work, on the clock, using equipment that your company provides they have every right to ensure that you are doing what you are paid to do. Besides, it's only good management practice to wander around and follow up with your employees.

    January 17, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  19. D Moore

    If I am paying my employees to use my computers to do a job for me, there is nothing wrong with making sure that those employees are doing what I am paying them to do, provided that I give them the ground rules.

    January 17, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  20. -30-

    This technology sounds as intrusive and offensive as having the company nurse standing beside me, pressure cuff, thermometer, and camera in hand. There can be no reason for this beyond spying, discrimination, and dismissal.

    January 17, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  21. CRAIG R. MCNEES

    IT IS QUITE OBIVIOUS WHAT THIS WILL BE USED FOR, A BUILT IN LIE DETECTOR. ANYONE COULD READ THE RESULTS AND TELL IF YOU ARE LYING, USING DRUGS, OR NOT BEING THE BEST POSSIBLE LITTLE SHEEP IN THE HERD IN GENERAL. 1984 WAS JUST THE DATE THIS GARBAGE STARTED, NOT THE END.

    January 17, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  22. Ronald Holst

    Jack I think HUCKABEE beleves He can do it but untill the conbgress Backs him
    It Is a pipe dream. And I am sick and tired Of over goverment pandering to special intrests of all kinds.

    January 17, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  23. JAY

    I don't have a problem with it. We have to be careful with some employees that have addiction like gambling and pornography. They could get employers in trouble if they do things illegally over the interenet. Employeers should be able to monitor if their employees are accessing restricted sites during working hours, but should not have access to employees personal information like checking account, SSN and the like.

    January 17, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  24. CHARLOTTE

    Jack, employers have a right to insure their employees are doing the job they are getting paid to do. Remotely, sure beats standing over your shoulder. A person who is not wasting company time probably won't be watched anyway.

    January 17, 2008 at 4:13 pm |
  25. suzie from Atlanta, GA

    Anyone using company provided computer services, anywhere in the world is subject to monitoring, per the employment agreement. This is not new.

    Any service provided by an employer to an employee for the purposes of work related activities belongs to the employer, and the employer has the legal right to monitor every key stroke or software program usage or web site visit or voice call that uses the ACCESS to the Internet provided by them.

    Which is why it is SO stupid to use the ACCESS to any online or phone line service provided by the boss, any connection to the Internet, or fax machine, or cell phone or land line, for personal use.

    If you work from home using services provided for you by your employeer, then you are borrowing those services, and the boss has the right to do anything they want to manage them. Too bad, folks, it's legal, and frankly, it is correct.

    January 17, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  26. Britt

    well I strongly belive Mike Huckabee is going to make sure we are sticking to our laws as they are written. I have a relitive who is married to an ilegal alian. They have establised a productive family have four children and it would be a devistating thing for them to be ripped apart. at the same time though we have to inforce our laws. I believe Huckabee plans to send people like my sister in law home but make a way for employers to get them back through work progarms an alow them to get back to thier jobs and families while they await approval for application for citizenship.

    January 17, 2008 at 4:17 pm |
  27. joe m

    i've got a perfect test group to implement this technology on – politicians. they act like they work so hard and this would let their employers , us, actually know how hard they are working. if we can actually monitor their every response while they are supposedly doing work, maybe more of them will actually do the people's bussiness rather than all the crap that they get involved in.

    as far as us regular folks is concerned, most of us have got no choice but to work hard. the people who will oppose this are the slackers. everyone else has to bust their butts to just keep their heads above water.

    January 17, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  28. Oliver Williams

    The reality of Gov Huckabee being able to send all illegal aliens home is unrealistic, as there are so many complicated moving parts to the process, first Mexico itself must make policy changes that give their citizens hope in Mexico itself, as well as these other Hemispheric neighbors whose social structure is out of control and basically dictatorial for all practical purposes via Gangs and Crime. We need a hemispheric Summitt on these issues.

    January 17, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  29. Pearce Hammond

    Will this type of monitoring detect whether an employee is just playing around and surfing the net and not doing his or her work? A good manager should not have to monitor his subordinates remotely!

    January 17, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  30. Bill Quarryville, PA

    If I hire people that I feel the need to monitor or spy on while they work, then I should be replaced. And what about the wasted time someone takes to watch the people being watched. Shouldn't that be considered a wasted time and money?

    January 17, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  31. Ryan Colclasure, Champaign IL

    Hi Jack,

    It would be nice if the American Corporatocracy improved productivity by promoting individual well-being, providing medical and psychological support and appreciating workers as members of a business-family. But if intrusive cyber-monitoring is where they want to make their investment, it comes as no surprise.

    Ryan Colclasure
    Champaign, IL

    January 17, 2008 at 4:30 pm |
  32. Tyler N

    I think the real question has to do with the issue of disclosure. If an employer is willing to fully disclose the extent to which employees will be monitored, and use these biological factors only to determine things relevant to an employees work ability and quality, then I suppose this type of observation is permissible. After all, the employers are the ones who sign the paychecks, and if an individual is uncomfortable with the perspective work conditions, he or she can choose to seek employment elsewhere. I do worry that employers will use this monitoring ability to track things irrelevant to the work place, and their are clearly very pressing issues of both privacy intrusion and discrimination that must be examined and explored prior to this being put in place. However, my greatest concern is that with some unnoticed executive order, or something of the like, all of this data could easily fall into the hands of the government. Should that happen, our right to privacy, which has been abused by the United States government time and time again, and terribly corroded by the Bush administration, would be greatly hindered and put in serious jeopardy.

    Tyler N.
    Washington University in St. Louis

    January 17, 2008 at 4:32 pm |
  33. Michael M Phx AZ

    Well, since employers want to spy on us at work, then we, as taxpayers, should be able to do the exact same thing to all the government employees, since they are supposed to work for the taxpayers. I wonder how the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches would like it if we were able to spy on them also, since it's our "dime."

    January 17, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  34. Melvin

    We do not need a spy program,
    If a manager is any good to start with they will know who is producing and who is not.
    Mel
    Colorado

    January 17, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  35. Susan from Texas

    Big brother is already watching me at work and everywhere else. But I am staying after work to write to you. Work-I get it. But BIG BROTHER is passing our credit scores around, using them to deny us jobs, monitoring my tv viewing trends so I can be bombarded with unsolicited mailings and e-mails. Now with cable changing, it's a bit scary. Daniel Webster says "God grants liberty only to those who love it and always ready to guard it." Employers and others will go as far as we let them explore in the name of fear or efficiency.

    January 17, 2008 at 4:40 pm |
  36. silver18

    Yes, Jack, I find something wrong with that. If I am getting my job done, my superiors don't have anything to worry about. Seems a little Big Brother-ish to me.

    Sterling, Florida

    January 17, 2008 at 4:42 pm |
  37. Phyllis

    No, I don't see aything wrong with companies remotely monitoring their employees.

    The way I figure it, if an employee is using company equipment and is being paid by a company to perform a task, the company is entitled to verify that it is getting what it paid for!

    January 17, 2008 at 4:43 pm |
  38. CS

    Considering all the glitches that usually accompany the release of a new MS product, I wonder how many hard-working employees would be inadvertently declared dead & taken off the payroll? Not to worry, tho, they can be brought back to life (and paid?) when MS issues the right patch to fix it a few years down the road.

    January 17, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  39. Howard

    No, managers need to make sure that their employs are working and not stealing company info selling it to outside companies, they also need to know that they are not being robe by those employs who cut out of work early, they that guy in New York did, he was fired for that too.

    January 17, 2008 at 4:44 pm |
  40. Chad Byrd

    Do we ever really have a choice in these matters? This type of monitoring would be acceptable in a competitive job market where employees could choose the level of surveillance by their prospective employer, but in today's commoditized job market, job environments tend to homogenize across company lines, which is ripe for market-wide compliance.

    January 17, 2008 at 4:47 pm |
  41. T.DeMari

    Huckabee's pledge to send illegal aliens home is not only unrealistic, it is embarrassingly pathetic. Having said that, his chances of getting the Republican nomination are equally pathetic. It would be wise if Huckabee saved what money he has left, and donate it to a charity of his own choice.

    January 17, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  42. john

    No absolutely nothing wrong with it. It seems like the only people that don’t like being monitored are those that have performance problems. Point in case, today’s Philadelphia Inquirer highlights 45% of Pennsylvania high school graduates can’t pass math and reading competency tests and in urban Philadelphia 7700 out of 10,200 graduates couldn’t pass the tests. WOW… now we know why teachers hate the no child left behind act… we should be arresting teachers and school administrators and charging them with fraud, then drag them into civil court and get back the tax money we paid them.

    January 17, 2008 at 4:51 pm |
  43. Annie

    Jack,

    I think we as human beings need to dig deeper to find our humanity these days, and this is a step as far in the opposite direction as we could possibly go. We need a follow up entitled "It's Gotten Even Uglier Out There (in a very short time)."

    January 17, 2008 at 4:53 pm |
  44. Karl in SF

    If someone is monitoring by bodily functions remotely, it better be my doctor. I wouldn't work for such an paranoid enterprise. If you want to look at my screen to see what I'm doing, that's fine and that technology exists and has for years. Beyond that "It ain't nobody's business but my own".

    January 17, 2008 at 4:54 pm |
  45. Allen von Hartwell, GA

    Don't anyone look now, but they're doing it in some places

    January 17, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  46. Max

    The fact of the matter is that too many people get by in the workplace by doing the bear minimum. That is one of the main problems with the country, everyday it is built deeper into the fabric of the nation and that is dont work hard, because someone else is working harder for you. A system like this would hopefully help raise productivity, although the verdict is still out.

    January 17, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  47. peter benton

    Jack,
    Land of the free and home of the brave my foot. land of the apathetic and spineless, would be more a more correct description of this place. Wake up people! Maybe we need a little insurrection in this country. Hasn't anyone read 1984?

    January 17, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  48. Jeff in Connecticut

    Jack,
    I'm guessing this is aimed at the "Cubicle" work environment. Back in the days of the dinosaurs, when you & I had real jobs & supervisors, we actually interacted with our bosses throughout the day. I'm glad my "employee evaluation" won't be done by a spreadsheet.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  49. THELMA

    good boy Huckabee, i think all aleins should go home . it's like we're being invaded by something new everyday..but one thing you can say they stick together where the white people don't.... i guess this will wake some people up but it will be to late......have you noticed anything thats stamped with USA on it is a good product. the others always let you down.......oh well just think about it.....MAKE SENSE?

    January 17, 2008 at 5:03 pm |
  50. Jake M.

    Is production at Microsoft bad enough for the employer to need to know how often their workers go to the bathroom, if it is then they should just fire all the lazy jerks and get some people that want to work productively. But even if the workers do their jobs to the fullest, and they did this, i would think, more then i do now, that Bill Gates is a kind-of a creep.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:05 pm |
  51. Thomas, SC

    A private employer should be able to monitor employees however it wants. If they cross the line, they will realize it when they don't have any employees left. This is one of many examples where people seem to want big government to step in when the market could handle the situation just fine instead.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:06 pm |
  52. Frank

    I think unless Americans start to take Responsibility for their actions this could become the norm. America is seen as an Obese and Ignorant nation...

    Frank
    Louisiana

    January 17, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  53. Zack

    I won't be a robot.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  54. Gary

    In the old days, there was a guy with a whip to encourage you to row harder. Now a guy can use the whip remotely. That's what I call PROGRESS!

    January 17, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  55. kirk

    This is ridiculous, first they send jobs overseas and now they want to turn people into robots?! We have to remember we are dealing with people, not a computer generated hardware.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  56. Jose

    How will I then be able to coast through a workday for a job I'm under-qualified for? Surely I'm not the only one out there!

    January 17, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  57. Kathy Douthit

    When are we going to start standing up to Big Business and show a little solidarity ???!!!

    January 17, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  58. Joel

    Jack I think its great we will finally find out who Wolf is fooling around with when hes not on the air.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  59. Pete in Florida

    Jack, I never thought America would stoop this low, getting ideas from North Korea.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  60. Bismarck

    I dont see any problem with it at all, provided that theres also a reverse "little brother" in place that allows the employees to monitor the managers

    January 17, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  61. Suzanne Brown

    This software sounds great....let's get our elected officials in the pilot program.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  62. Katherine

    This is way too "big brother" for me! As it stands now most jobs suck the life out of you, now they want your facial expressions! More and more being a hermit is sounding like a good idea! Provided they don't give my job software to see where I went at the end of the day!

    January 17, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  63. patricia

    Jack :

    Make sure that they hook it up at your Nuclear Plants with the snoozing guards...

    Patricia

    January 17, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  64. Ron

    The biggest problem with this kind of technology is that it can't measure "thinking" or "creativity." Some of my best work is done in my head, before I put it on the page. If I'm measured only on my keystrokes, then I'm likely to just jot down any bad idea so that I won't be red-flagged for "goofing-off."

    January 17, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  65. Jack

    I think it is a reprehensible idea. We alresdy have a Big Brother government watching us. We do not need it at work. Whatever happened to trust? I, for one, would quit in disgust.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  66. Bruce Marshall

    Jack with all the CEO's that have been in court, in trouble, or gone to jail who is going to watch the watcher's????

    January 17, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  67. Christine

    A little scary, Jack? Employers don't own their employees. What next, my boss will be able to see what I'm doing in the bathroom, just in case I don't really have to go? Where do we draw the line? I wonder if Microsoft will use the new software on its employees.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  68. Mike Eaden, Decatur Ga.

    It's not the monitoring that bothers me. It's the quality of the monitors.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  69. Ralph

    Does this mean they will tell us when we can go to the bathroom?

    January 17, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  70. Derrick

    Perfect for Congress! We can now monitor their biometrics when they are required to pretend work on legislation, when on vacation taking bribes and when they vote themselves a pay raise.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  71. barbara

    Jack, we already have BIG BROTHER and I guess that Microsoft program will be his little sister. They are already trying to feed us cloned animals; spraying the air from planes with God knows what; and now monitor our every waking moment at work! Gee, we'll never be able to sneak in a nap again. That should be against the law, I say.

    I would hate to see what BIG MAMA will look like:)

    January 17, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  72. Dale Hill

    Jack,
    Duh, Jack! It is Microsoft software. I can just imagine the software calling an ambulance because a workers computer freezes up, like it will do. Unfortunately, the fix comes through India. This is a good example of why everyone should buy Macintoshes. "Winders" freeze up; OS X 5.0 fixes itself!

    Dale
    Anadarko, OK 73005

    January 17, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  73. Lee

    If this is really considered, I think it should first be tested on ALL MicroSoft employees, from Bill Gates on down, and at the same time test it on ALL elected US officials from the President on down. See how they might like it before they try to give it to the rest of us.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  74. Kyle in TX

    Sure what a great idea we need this so bad. If we could just coordinate the Patriot Act to be involved with all spying and software form Microsoft. Then create the REAL ID to link up with your cell phone to track the GPS. Then have the FBI, and NSA set up a huge database to track people and monitor their work ability it would be perfect. Oh, wait this has already happened. WAKE UP. Too bad people you should have read 1984.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  75. Nate Mezmer

    Perhaps they should take it a step further and offer electric shock to keep lackluster employees in line. And if we're monitoring metabolic rates would we be allowed to penalize workers who are fat and lazy? I can't wait 'til they insert the microchips in us!

    Nate Mezmer

    January 17, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  76. Ryan

    I can agree with the need for supervision in the workplace, but where do we draw the line? Monitoring an employee's internet is one thing, but venturing off into metabolism levels and heart rate venture off into an entirely new dimension of invading privacy.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  77. Torvin Pristell

    if companies were actually making money and the economy wasn't so horrible there would be no need for such a big brother approch. ceo's would be to busy rolling in millions of dollars to care about your facial expression.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  78. Connie

    If it has gone so far as a patent. You can be sure it is and has been going on for some time now. We are no longer a "free" country. There is no private, safe place for us.,,, not even our home!

    January 17, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  79. Ken Cancio

    This will bring the world one step closer to the "Mark of the beast".

    January 17, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  80. Ron Russell

    Jack, I've got no problem with it. I'll just find a way to hack the code and have it report that I've been dead for 2 years. Either that, or it will say that I'm having sex right now and that he should check back later! My 3rd choice would of course be to say...thanks for monitoring me, guess I should go back to work now

    January 17, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  81. Evan

    Jack, such software would only bring us further to a dystopia we may unknowingly already be on the brink of. It would be social injustice of the highest degree, and even if it somehow became commonplace, nobody would pay attention to it. It's foolish.

    Evan
    NY

    January 17, 2008 at 5:14 pm |
  82. Rudy Mees

    Does that mean, since we're Bush & Cheney's employer we finally can find out what they have been doing? Let's go for it!

    Rudy.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  83. Jim Blevins

    As with many such things, this is a potentially useful tool. However, there is a huge problem with how some people would use it. Something needs to be done about the people who would misuse such a tool.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  84. Sharif in CA

    While I might not be personally comfortable being monitored this way, I think businesses should be able to do whatever they want with their computer systems, although they should tell their employees they're being watched.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  85. Sara

    Oh great! And what will be next? Sensors on our temples that monitor our thoughts? Did Bill Gates not read 1984 and heed Orwell's warning?

    January 17, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  86. Ace Lundon

    Isn't the work place a public place? So why should we be worried about our privacy in a public place? Besides, privacy may well be a thing of the Past in this 21st Century and we really need to learn to live open and honest lives ... then we'd not have to be concerned about our public privacy. What we do behind our private home doors is another question and there we do or should have our privacy.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  87. Ben

    John, your assertin is fringed and ludicrious to boot.

    I am no slacker, and oppose this technolgoy.

    For one, it shows a lack of trust in emploees.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  88. Gertrude

    WONDERFUL idea!...just as long as the employees can monitor the boss, too. I'd like to know which bar to call when my boss isn't in his office.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  89. Jamie P. deVries

    Jack- Before you conclude that this gives Management controll over employees, consider the possible benefits to employees whose managers recognize what they must provide to boost productivity–6 weeks of vacation per year?

    January 17, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  90. Bob in Greenville, SC

    Anything wrong with monitoring your performance remotely? Nah. By the way, Jack, quit making those nasty gestures at Wolf, would ya. He's trying. There, how do you like it?

    January 17, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  91. bob white

    Jack I don't see anything wrong with the spyware as long as they hook up the President and the U>S> Congress to the spyware. After all this is the same President and Congress that accomplished nothing. Maybe the spyware will tell us why. Iam sorry– Congress did wake up long enough to vote themselves a $4100.00 pay raise!

    January 17, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  92. Cody Watson

    Sounds kinda like the Patriot Act to me...tell ya what, Jack, lets go ahead and stamp an Americana feel to the name of this product...we can call it the Orwellian Patriot Freedom Eraser. There we go, now the American workplace will feel safe and secure in the arms of a megalomaniacal boss that truly cares about the well-being of his employees.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  93. Buster in Poughkeepsie

    Come on Jack, you should be especially sensitive to this. Wolf is constantly having to monitor your whereabouts and remind you not to go anywhere because you have either the round table or the Cafferty File to attend to. Who needs software when you have a hard-ass like Wolf.

    Sincerely,
    Your buddy Buster

    January 17, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  94. Chris

    who will be monitoring the managers? It always seems that once you became a manager, the rules do not apply to you, but only to those lowly workers like you used to be.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  95. Doug geib

    I can just imagine a boss sitting at a computer monitoring the workers to make sure they are working and laughing that he/she is getting paid to do it! I would hate to see it cutting into the bosses tetris playing time.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  96. Caleb

    Well, Jack...that depends. Would the American people be able remotely monitor our President? If we are going to monitor such novel concepts as workplace productivity and competence, let's start where it counts and see if we get better results.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  97. jack

    I do see something right. Consider using it on bank tellers. It could signal a robbery in progress. Consider its use on police officers. It could send help to officers in need of assistance. Look out all those who hanky panky around at the office. What would flatulence do?

    January 17, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  98. d

    Jack, this really slaps as a big government/corporate agenda. I can't believe some of the responses you are getting. These people must be "after" my time. They see nothing wrong with it??? Aren't we as employees working enough with the cell phone invention. Nobody can leave work..........not for a minute. Now they want to keep tabs on a person 24/24. I guess 1984 is coming to fruition. Very, very scary business. I now wonder what our educational system is teaching our young ones if they see no problem with this agenda. Heaven help us all.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  99. Jim Foster

    Perhaps the spyware could be used to reduce my health care costs if my body stats look good.–Stop laughing Jack I treid to think of something positive.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  100. Chance

    If they hook it up to all the members of congress then im all for it!

    January 17, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  101. Pop Goes the Weasel

    No. If you take my money you work for me. My equipment belongs to me also. I will make you aware of that equipment that I install to monitor productivity as a courtesy to you but that is all I feel obligated to do. Similar technology has been around for years and I have been using it for years. It is an excellent tool to help monitor time usage and productivity. Don't knock something until you try it. Jack. And who knows maybe CNN already has the same software I use watching you and Wolf. A smart employer would be. Don't you think your employer is intelligent Jack?

    January 17, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  102. DrTCom

    The only people who would object are those who sit on their butts and don't do their work! How could you possibly complain about someone watching you work to insure you are truely working! Too many gold-brickers try to hide from being observed by freedom-bashing. You are perfectly free to WORK SOMEWHERE ELSE so don't snivel and complain for having to work for your money, "just do it!"

    January 17, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  103. Phil Carpenter

    Jack, just another step on the ever-shortening road to converting human beings to corporate automatons. Let your heart rate drop a bit and you obviously aren't worried enough about your employer's financial health - better they find someone more concerned. Personal privacy? Pshaw. It's all about them.

    Phil
    Monticello IL

    January 17, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  104. Osanu

    Majority will have their say but the power brokers will have their way...the government is doing in the name terrorism prevention so its no surprise if the companies want to do it in the name of productivity....best option? – BE YOUR OWN BOSS

    January 17, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  105. Paul H. Risk Ph.D.

    Spyware in the workplace that monitors physiology, productivity, etc., is absolutely ridiculous and revolting. Even if the employee voluntarily submitted to such a privacy intrusion, the legal implications are enormous. Its use should be prohibited by law. I am stunned that Microsoft has the gall to even suggest such a thing, let alone attempt to patent it. Well, I guess I'm not really stunnedl. After all it's Microsoft!!

    Paul

    January 17, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  106. emmauel

    what is this system coming to ? what happened to trust? we might as well just have machines take over this is ridiculous for main stream jobs and plane wrong.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  107. new patriot - Arizona

    Jack,

    This is very intrusive period. what's next RFID on our bodies.....
    I think we should turn all this mess around and place it on our elected politicians, the senate and congress and see how they like it! They are the ones that approve all this madness!

    January 17, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  108. Bismarck is from Canada

    Jack, i dont see any problem with that provided theres a "little brother" in place that allows the employees to reverse monitor the managers

    January 17, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  109. Gus

    Jack,

    You have to love it, now bosses will be creating action plans to improve your facial expressions and blood pressure. I am so glad I am approaching retirement, that is if there is anything left to retire to.

    Gus

    January 17, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  110. Patrick

    Since when do we need to worry about Microsoft software applications working as they should? I can firmly say the well being of anyone working for Microsoft is at risk. Just wait till the insurance companies get wind of this. I'll be in front of the line at my doctor telling him it's not just carpal tunnel, doc, it's Gates Syndrome and the only cure is a big law suit settlement and extended rest on a sandy beach.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  111. Jean Dulaney

    It's been my experience that the MANAGERS are the ones sleeping (literally) at the helm... not the drones.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  112. Merlin

    I would say "You've got to be kidding" but I know you wouldn't kid us on something this important Jack.

    It's simple, IF all our bosses think they're going to INVADE OUR PRIVACY in this manner, then i think WE should be able to to the same to THEM.

    Besides, they invade our privacy enough as it is. who's going to be next, our GOVERNMENT? as if they don't already.

    Damn, I'm glad I work for MYSELF.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  113. mohammed

    I dread something like that happening! This will open the possiblity of people having to work like machines.. Human beings aren't perfect machines and that's what makes us creative and innovative thinkers. What if someone is thinking of a unique idea at a job, gets excited and their heart level goes up then what happens, he/she gets reprimended? This is mad science..

    January 17, 2008 at 5:18 pm |
  114. Valerie

    Jack, I see a real problem, here. Where there should be trust, motivation, recognizing the contribution of every workers, boss, colleages, etc., there is doubt and cunnings attitudes. The qualities of a leader is to bring everyone together in order to accomplish the tasks needed to achieve a goal. Instead, the companies are intending to monitor there employees and investing in mistrust. I think that we should be able to communicate and to go toward a same goal.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  115. Chase Hardin (Goodyear)

    Jack, the mere idea of this is horrifying – there is a difference between monitering workers and controling workers. This is a dangerous and terrifying step towards 1984.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  116. John

    The next new application after MS-employeespy will be Perfect-employee simulator. This exciiting new application will automatically provide optimal employee information back to MS-employeespy even if you hungover, missing, or even absent.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  117. donatello

    This idea is everything a Big Brother should be. It turns me from a human being into a robot. The next edition to this so called program is the body patch so the boss can shock me awake or to attention like a trained monkey. After that I wear a brain cap so the boss can read my mind and control my thoughts directly. I'm then totally 100% become a robot and can have feeding tubes or draining tubes shoved up or in various openings so I never have to leave my desk at work for ANY reason what so ever. What a Brave New World we are evolving into. Robot dogs to amuse us at home and fellow robots to share time with at work. I for one don't need a robot at home nor do I want to be a robot at my place or work. No thanks I'll pass on this whole new world we are building.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  118. Jerry Harris

    That is not new technology by any stretch of the imagination. I was at a barber shop when one of the barbers asked the Plant Manager of the company that I worked for how many men he had working at the plant, without blinking an eye the Plant Manager replied ,about half ot them. This occured at a union plant in the mid 60's. That company employed about 60 thousand men and women world wide and is no longer in business.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  119. Karen

    This is called invasion of privacy. Most companies are asking you to work from home because they don't want to pay benefits. They often tell you a good thing about it is that you can work when you want as long as the material is turned or e-mailed on time. Companies cannot have it both ways. You either pay benefits and expect an employee to show up between certain times, you send them home with rules to follow plus benefits or you let them work around their schedule and set only a deadline for when the work must be completed.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  120. Susan Kroeger

    We are so busy making more rules and creating more legislation to police ourselves, we don't have time to teach and learn some basic moral principles...like honesty and work ethics. Maybe if we were true to ourselves, we could stop subjecting our neighbors, coworkers, politicians, professional athletes etc to drug testing, audits, and even remote control monitoring. Do I think there is inappropriate behavior at work...yes, everywhere. Something substantial has to be done, but it will only be corrected if we start spending more time policing ourselves and not others.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  121. Jeff

    Geez...what will they think of next, remote shock treatment for employees who are not being productive? Microsoft is taking over the world, lets hope this is not implemented.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  122. Jon

    America had better awaken from it's slumber before it's too late. The powers that be are ramping up this sort of intrusive technology right now and if the citizens don't stand up and fight this pretty soon this country will be unrecognizable. If you want your country back vote Ron Paul!!!!!!!

    January 17, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  123. Paul Stephenson

    Is this why I did 20 years in the Army? So very small and not hard could help the low life scum I work for spy on me? I work much harder than required because I think what I do supports our troops, but I still don't want management punks looking at me at all times.

    Paul Stephenson
    US Army retired

    January 17, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  124. Brent Kincaid

    You are right. This is WAY scary. And, it is one more attempt to imbed the good old boy network even more strongly into our psyches. Most people in the US do their work with no help from their bosses, even training the boss that is hired to watch them. And, most bosses don't watch them. The rule of thumb is still "the less work you do the more you get paid".

    The good old boys, however, just KNOW when they are not annoying us, and forcing us to monitor ourselves, we are not doing anything. So, goodie. Let's hook them up to an electronic mental catheter. Then we will know when they are working or not. Yeah, that's a good idea. And, we can allow even MORE extra pork in the budget upon which to base my next manager bonus.

    It's a huge scam and now they want to back it up with invasive, de-humanizing surveillance.

    Microsoft, you need to be VERY ashamed of yourself for even thinking of this idea.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  125. Drew from Augusta GA

    Sure, I think that companies monitoring employees is fine. Well, so long as the employees can check up on their bosses as well. I sure would like to know if my boss is actually at his hour long "conference call" every day.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  126. Andrew

    It seems as though technology will become the new tool to track and control Americans. It seems as though corporations are violating the privacy rights of their workers by monitoring people's heart rates, blood pressure and facial expressions. Don't we have the freedom of expression and privacy anymore. I think it is time that people start to stand up for our rights. Everyday, we let our corportocracy influence our founding values and principles. Slowly and slowly we are letting the elite have full control of every aspect of our life. How long before corporate America and our government join forces and turn our state into a authoritarian state. What if a few make that move and use all of our info and employment contracts to enslave and suppress us?

    January 17, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  127. Elisa

    This is scary. On one side I can understand, in an occupation such as in the case of a pilot or an astronaut, the benefit of such a use of technology. However, for the average worker this would be invasive because our physical body is our own and never belongs to an employer. It is one thing to monitor a computer's use and quite another to monitor an employee's body. That is what is invasive. I would refuse to work for any employer who would use technology to spy on my body and its functioning. We need to draw a line somewhere or we will gradually drift to the point where control overpowers freedom.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  128. shaunk

    This just gives us cubicle monkeys another way to have fun with the boss!

    January 17, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  129. Charles Hays

    If it were a reciprocal arrangement it might be fun. Let the workers monitor their bosses. (See if there is a heartbeat!) We could take it to the next level of openness by publishing all the parameters on the corporate portal. This could build up a whole new industry by developing clever ways to beat the system.

    Seriously, real leaders don’t need this technology. What matters is who produces and who does not. If they are sleeping and making money, I want the others who are sweating and failing to deliver to take lessons.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  130. Wendy

    Do I see anything wrong? How about do I see anything ok about this software? These people don't know how dangerous this could become. It might evolve from just monitoring your blood pressure to monitoring every aspect of your work life. Americans have enough eyes on them what with the phone taps and other government spying programs.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  131. David from CA

    They're also coming out with the Human Mouse Wheel and they're gonna be picking the most productive workers and firing the rest.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  132. Greg

    Jack,

    The idea of my manager's being able to spy on me remotely is insane. As a young, and new employee in the accounting industry, I have to spend a lot of time working with financial statements by hand and making business phone calls. If man manager was to look at my keystrokes, I'd be in a lot of trouble because I only spend maybe 60% typing into the computer. Being that my managers don't know much about accounting or what I really do with my days, they would be grossly misinformed if they based what I do on my keystrokes alone. Office spyware would be extremely intrusive and would not be able to tell you how productive an employee really is. Really though, whats next after this? Cameras at every single workstation so that someone can pretend to work by watching me do real work? The world just keep getting crazier.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  133. Jim Jensen

    Hey, it's just part of what happens when you live in a corptocracy. We lost our individual rights and freedoms a long time ago.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  134. joe, Debary FL

    Jack, As a senior member of management I can see where there would be abuses of the technology.

    Joe, Debary FL

    January 17, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  135. Bernard

    Jack, i think this is scary, i work as an IT tech for a a very big company in cincinnati oh, we employs Altiris to monitor what employees does with their computers. employees get angry when they realised they are being monitored.

    I think this is too intrusive and voilates all the privacy rights.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  136. Robert Wendel

    Jack... This sort of thing stinks to high heaven, and definitely crosses a line of "intrusion." There is, fortunately, a solution to it: UNIONIZE! Unless we get employees from the assembly line up to middle management back into a collective bargaining situation once again, this sort of thing will never stop. It's time employees realize they've been sucked by corporations since the Reagan era with weak promises, and phony "support." Now that pensions are being cut back, health coverage cut cut back, and job security nill, maybe workers will start to wake up at last! ... of course, everyone could switch to an Apple computer too.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  137. Ken Gregston

    Duh? Do we (read USA wake up) see anything wrong?

    It sure seems that the Bush Administration is trying very, very hard (and quite successfully I might add) before they leave office in a year, to trash the very thing that has made this country so very, very strong for over 200 years – The Constitution!...

    How many examples do we need. Our Civil Liberties are not just being diluted but totally eliminated. Our standing in the world is crumbling and we can not seem to stop this role-away freight train of lies and deception by our First Appointed U.S. King.

    Ken
    La Honda, CA

    January 17, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  138. Ken

    How is this a privacy issue? If a company is investing its time/money in an employee, it surely has the right to monitor their productivity at work. This software is not used in the restrooms where it would be a privacy issue. I'm sure the ACLU will think differently as the are often on the wrongside of issues.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  139. Julie

    Jack

    Why not build your robots instead of trying to make them out you existing employees, those whose jobs haven't already gone overseas. Dosn't management get paid the big bucks to know what's going on with their employees? It seems to me like the spy ware has more to do with increasing health care cost considering what the intend to monitor.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:25 pm |
  140. john of texas

    Bank tellers can use it to signal a robbery in progress. Police officers can use it to signal assistance needed when away from communication. Of coure office workers can be caught when they "hanky-panky". I wonder if a subtle release of flatulence would set it off???

    January 17, 2008 at 5:25 pm |
  141. Thaddeus

    I think most people are missing that this software would be to monitor the physical bodies of employees. The technology to monitor where they go online and how they use their computer has been around and in use for years. Sure, the employee has a warranted right to monitor how it's pc assets are used. I respect my employers right and assume that how I use my company PC is already being monitored. However, wiring our bodies up for monitoring is more than scary and seems like the definitive step over to the darkside. If I were reading a technical book at my desk, will the spyware think I'm sleeping and page my boss on the golf course?

    January 17, 2008 at 5:25 pm |
  142. Ben

    No, and I also don't see anything wrong with Homeland Security indiscriminantly tapping our phone lines. Yeah right...I'll be sure to burn my socialist rags when I hear a knock on the door.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:25 pm |
  143. Les Sleeth

    Some ideas are beyond right and wrong . . . they are anti-human nature. Every time we've tried system designs (and this sort of spying would be part of a work-system design) that don't align with humanness, we've caused problems. Freedom aligns, individual rights aligns, working together aligns, equality aligns . . . and we've amply observed what messes are made in systems (of any sort) that don't include them.

    Spying on workmates fails to recognize the human need for trust when we are part of a team effort. A lesson we should have learned from the Japanese in this respect at least is that people will voluntarily give of themselves when they are included in decision making, trusted to do their jobs, given fair compensation, treated with respect.

    So what spying boils down to is poorly designed and managed organizations shirking their responsibility for resentful or bored employees, and then coming up with a really stupid plan to make things even worse!

    January 17, 2008 at 5:25 pm |
  144. Troy U.

    I believe that if I were an employer that I would want to know if my employees are being honest or using my company for individual gain, or illegal activity.

    It is everyone's right to keep themselves and their own safe from intrusion (including employees), however, it goes both ways. For one, if the employee is concerned about it, he/she may be a concerning individual, and it could be said that an employer who feels he/she cannot trust his/her employees, maybe the employer can't be trusted.

    Either way, I, myself would not be concerned about my employers using software for monitoring activities. If I were, I would probably be doing something I shouldn't.

    "Ending hypocrisy can lead to truth, which can lead to peace." Troy Upham, 2008

    January 17, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  145. Wade

    I am not suprised in the least that this software exists. In a country in which our cellphone conversations, e-mails, and personal data and private conversations are monitored and poured through–why have we not seen this step coming. just another way this corporate society can monitor our every freedom and begin to take it away. its one thing to promote national security in the name of patriot but quite another to fullfill corporate agendas and make us somehow think its good for us and to feel more secure. Last, wake up people, our personal freedom is being taken away day by day.

    ~Wade Ellis
    Chattanooga TN

    January 17, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  146. robert collins

    Republican on Texas Supreme Court INDICTED for insurance fraud. Texas Supreme Court Justice David Medina, a friend of Alberto Gonzales, and a Republican appointee to the Texas Supreme Court was indicted today for insurance fraud claiming he set fire to his own house for the insurance proceeds!

    January 17, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  147. Jan

    I love technology! The only thing I see “wrong” with this new monitoring system is that it should not be directed at the rank and file but rather at managers. This technology you describe would suffer a meltdown if it monitored the mismanagement at one particularly large central Illinois university.

    January 17, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  148. Amanda

    Are they nuts? First I read on the Drudge Report that we are going to be charged for how much we use the internet and now we are going to be hooked up to machines at work to track our progress??? What kind of world are we living in? I love innovative technology, but not when it strips of us our civil liberties. Ron Paul would never stand for this. Something big is going on here and the American people haven't caught on yet

    January 17, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  149. new patriot - Arizona

    The politicians are the ones that need to be monitored !

    January 17, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  150. Greg J. Hipius

    Orwellian fears over this technology are unfounded. There are far more effective “old” technologies (closed-circuit cameras, etc) for monitoring or snooping on employee’s productivity, if you really insist on being that asinine a manager. Besides, it’s less effective and based on conjecture… what if my heart was racing at work not because I’m playing online poker, but because I *really* love filing reports at work?!?

    January 17, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  151. paul evans

    Jack , The gov. has been doing this for a long time, they have been watching everything i do. they control my phones,internet , my type of job i have , if my car runs . dont laugh , everyone better open there eyes before its to late. BIG GOVERNMENT ,BIG BROTHER/CONTROLLER , On the political side RON PAUL has my vote, you have agreat day, c-ya

    January 19, 2008 at 12:14 pm |
  152. Neale

    UNIVERSAL HOUSING CALCULATION.

    This is an Analysis of the Cost to House.
    Basic Human Necessities, Running Water.
    Enclosed Compartment, for Eating, Storage, Sleeping.

    REVENUE.

    1. Home Business is Significant.

    2. Home Business Administrative Business Functions Require
    Enclosed Compartments, Hydro.

    3. Home Owner Finance.
    Home Ownership is essential.
    Mortgage/Mortgage Algorithms should Engineer Complete
    Home Ownership, Efficiently.

    UNIVERSAL HOUSING.

    1. House Owners, Apartment Building Owners, Condominium Owners.

    2. National Accredited Housing[Building] Inspectors.

    3. National Housing Construction Scientists.

    January 19, 2008 at 2:00 pm |
  153. Marshall Neill

    If you think thats bad, how about what Daily Kos had today.

    Oh this is just priceless. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screeners are learning to recognize a special set of forbidden facial expressions. If your face slips into one of these during a TSA inspection, you will be taken aside and given a more detailed screening:

    Travelers at Sea-Tac and dozens of other major airports across America are being scrutinized by teams of TSA behavior-detection officers specially trained to discern the subtlest suspicious behaviors.

    [....]

    TSA officials will not reveal specific behaviors identified by the program–called SPOT (Screening Passengers by Observation Technique)–that are considered indicators of possible terrorist intent.

    But a central task is to recognize microfacial expressions–a flash of feelings that in a fraction of a second reflects emotions such as fear, anger, surprise or contempt, said Carl Maccario, who helped start the program for TSA.

    "In the SPOT program, we have a conversation with (passengers) and we ask them about their trip," said Maccario from his office in Boston. "When someone lies or tries to be deceptive, ... there are behavior cues that show it. ... A brief flash of fear."

    * webranding's diary :: ::
    *

    Let me quote from George Orwell's, Nineteen Eighty-Four (Part 1, Chapter 5):

    He did not know how long she had been looking at him, but perhaps for as much as five minutes, and it was possible that his features had not been perfectly under control. It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself—anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offence. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime, it was called.

    I don't know about you but this is pretty darn scary. I mean what is a "forbidden face?" Maybe I am just pissed off or in a bad mood. Will they flag me for that facial expression? Heck do we even have any evidence that this actually works? Who did the testing? Who did the training?

    I'd also feel a whole lot better (and safer) if the TSA actually acted as though there was this thing called the Constitution. Or that it mattered to them. I mean are we not protected from unreasonable search and seizure? Don't we have the presumption of innocence? If I need/want to fly for business or pleasure do I have to give up all my rights. Well I guess we know the answer to this last question.

    January 19, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  154. stephen

    "1984"

    January 19, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  155. Adam

    USSA Anyone?

    January 20, 2008 at 6:50 pm |