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26 Nov 2019

USA: Companies respond to surveillance concerns that biometric safety devices may be monitoring warehouse workers' productivity

 In November 2019, it was reported that Walmart, Toyota, Heineken and Geodis are testing biometric workplace safety monitoring devices in their warehouses and fulfilment centres in the USA. The devices - made by StrongArm technologies - track workers' movements, warning them when their movements are unsafe. The information is also sent to the workers' employer, which has prompted surveillance and privacy concerns. Workers at a General Electric facility involved in a StrongArm pilot in 2018 stopped wearing the devices over fears that data collected may be used to track productivity.

 Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Walmart, Toyota, Heineken, Geodis, General Electric and StrongArm to respond to surveillance concerns that data from biometric devices may be used to monitor workers' productivity.

All of the companies responded and denied the devices are being used to monitor productivity, stating that the data is only used to monitor and improve worker safety. The full responses can be found below.

Company Responses

Toyota View Response
General Electric (GE) View Response
StrongArm View Response
Walmart View Response
Geodis View Response
Heineken View Response