Every morning Dennis Colson, a surveyor at New York City's Department of Design and Construction, begins his work day by placing his hand on a scanner to log his time and attendance at the office.None of the above constitutes slavery, but I believe I can see where the more alert (or paranoid--your mileage may vary) among us think we're going with this.
The use of hand geometry and other biometric data, like facial and iris recognition, is not new — the University of Georgia pioneered the use of hand geometry when it installed scanners in its student dining hall in 1974.
But the planned roll-out of hand geometry scanners in all New York City government agencies has sparked union cries of "geoslavery" and assertions that technology developed for security will be used to track, label and control workforces.
In 2004, U.S. employers reportedly spent $9 billion on monitoring devices for the workplace, while a 2005 survey by American Management Association and The ePolicy Institute found 76 percent of companies monitor workers Web site use.
The survey of 526 U.S. companies also showed 36 percent of employers track computer content, keystrokes and time spent at the keyboard, while half store and review employees' computer files and 55 percent retain and review e-mail messages.
Only 5 percent used GPS in phones and 8 percent used GPS in company vehicles, while fingerprint scanning only accounted for 5 percent, facial recognition 2 percent and iris scans 0.5 percent.