Security

Microsoft patent takes concept of spyware to new heights

Microsoft has submitted a patent application for a "unique monitoring system" that promises to take the concept of spyware to a brand new level. The patent describes a computer system linking workers to their computers via wireless sensors that measure their metabolism.

Microsoft has submitted a patent application for a "unique monitoring system" that promises to take the concept of spyware to a brand new level. The patent describes a computer system linking workers to their computers via wireless sensors.

Except from The Times:

The system would allow managers to monitor employees' performance... wireless sensors could read "heart rate, galvanic skin response, EMG, brain signals, respiration rate, body temperature, movement facial movements, facial expressions and blood pressure"

The concern is that employers dismiss their staff on the basis of a computer's assessment of a physiological state.

Interestingly, the system could also detect frustration or stress by monitoring heart rate or facial expressions. Matched against an individual psychological profile, the system can identify employees who need help and inform management accordingly.

The way this system intrudes into every single aspect of the employee raises very serious privacy questions.

Do you think such draconian monitoring systems will ever be accepted in the workplace? How does your office monitor the performance of staff?

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

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