Telegraph removes sensors from journalists’ desks

Journalists’ desks at the Daily Telegraph offices in Victoria have had motion sensors removed from them, just hours after they were installed following an outcry from staff. The management’s decision to remove the sensors came after the technology website, BuzzFeed, had reported the installation, to widespread astonishment and disgust.

Have you checked under your desk? The motion sensor installed at the Telegraph this week.
Have you checked under your desk? The motion sensor installed at the Telegraph this week.

“It’s all very Big Brother,” one former Telegraph sports staffer told the SJA.

“What’s next?” asked an SJA member when they saw the report, “Reporters wearing electronic tags?”

A senior correspondent on another national daily pointed out, “I was always led to believe that the sign of a good reporter was that they were not always at their desk, but out and about, meeting contacts and getting stories.” contacted the Telegraph Media Group for comment about its desk monitoring policy, but the press office there declined to respond.

According to a note to Telegraph staff, seen by BuzzFeed, “In the light of feedback we have received from staff today, it has been decided to withdraw the under-desk sensors immediately.

“We will be looking at alternative ways to gather the environmental sustainability data we need, and will keep staff in touch with any new proposals.”

Staff had discovered the monitoring equipment attached to their desks when they arrived for work on Monday. Many only realised what the small black boxes were there to do after googling the brand name and discovered they were wireless motion detectors made by OccupEye.

As BuzzFeed reports: “OccupEye’s website says it provides ‘automated workspace utilisation analysis’ using sensors that ‘are triggered by both motion and heat’. This allows management access to a system that is ‘ultra-sensitive, yet ultra-reliable when it comes to tracking real-time 1:1 space utilisation’.”

So motion sensors, then.

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