As my job involves taking phone calls to make the company money it’s not surprising that they want me to take as many calls as possible. To this extent I, and my colleagues, are watched or monitored. We are allowed a specific amount of time for lunch, break, and personal. Personal time can only be used for going to the toilet or getting a drink – anything else can lead to a disciplinary. We are allowed an infringement up to a maximum of 4 times for any rolling 4 week period – anything over that could lead to disciplinary, unless you have a very good reason.
This is all monitored on the computer system. As soon as we leave our workstation we have to change our status on the system. We are also monitored for the length of time it takes to sort things out for a customer, or to put notes on the customers account.
We have cameras in every room except the toilets. There are cameras outside facing the toilets so we can be seen entering and leaving.
Reading the above it looks very much as if the company goes over the top with watching its staff. However, there have been some individuals who have been up to no good.
Enter the guy seen going into the toilets with a load of plastic cups. He left without them. A while later a toilet was found blocked – with plastic cups. He wouldn’t have been seen if the camera wasn’t there. I heard he said he’d left the cups in the bin and not in the toilet…I’ll leave the rest for the company to sort out.
We’ve also had various thefts in the call centre, as well as people leaving money at the auto teller. The cameras now capture all of this.
I’m sure our company is not the only business doing this. Cameras can be seen virtually everywhere nowadays. We are definitely living in a ‘big brother’ society, being watched as we walk down the street. There’s been phones bugged, emails intercepted and read, companies know exactly who we are and how we live, what we are interested in, what we do out of work. We have no privacy.
There are many people fighting this. They say it is an infringement of our rights. But exactly how harmful is it? My company watches it’s employees because it’s us that make the company money – or lose it. It’s in the company’s interests to monitor it’s work force. It’s also in the employee’s interests for our own safety. But can the same be said for being watched in the street, or monitored online?
Do I really want to be watched walking down the street blowing my nose, fixing my bra strap, scratching my bum, tripping up? Do I really want people knowing that I read lots of blogs, shop on Amazon and Ebay, check out various bands, am a member of social websites? This is all private, and many people would be shouting that this sort of spying shouldn’t be happening.
When someone is mugged or assaulted what’s the first thing they want checked? The CCTV in the vicinity. I’ve not yet heard of anyone saying, “don’t look at that. It shouldn’t be there. It’s an invasion of my privacy. You’ll have to find my attacker by some other means.” That would certainly be interesting. It’s usually the suspected criminal who is shouting about their rights.
In the world we live in at the moment, one of the things we often hear about on the news is that a terrorist plot has been foiled, and people have been arrested with arms and bombs being found. Those of us who value our safety and wish to live in peace are very glad to hear this kind of news. This kind of person is found by being monitored. Should we turn around and say they can’t be arrested because the spying is an invasion of their privacy? Should we get the governments to remove all kinds of monitoring equipment so that these people can carry out their plans to murder people?
At the end of the day each and every one of us is monitored in many ways. If a person wants to access websites to learn how to build bombs, or to listen to hate filled religious leaders, or to look at illegal porn, then, personally, I think they should be watched, and caught. I don’t do any of these things so why should I worry about being monitored? If I was doing something questionable then I would be worried.
The people who are normally shouting about it are usually the same people that demand that criminals get treated like royalty in prison, the same people who think that radical preachers deserve asylum in Britain. They scream human rights for some or other criminal, while the rest of us worry about our safety.
I think this monitoring can and does help to catch the dregs of society. It can and does help innocent people get justice. Those of us who are innocent and are being monitored, haven’t done anything to be charged with. As the cliché says: If you haven’t done anything wrong then you have nothing to worry about.