A Washington-based company hires remote guards who watch surveillance cameras in supermarkets and other businesses. It can intervene when they see something suspicious.
A US-based CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) company hires people in India to monitor stores from remote locations and scare away thieves.
Live Eye Surveillance, based in Washington, has developed a remote monitoring system based on human operators whose mission is to intervene when they detect suspicious activity in stores.
To understand it better: the company puts security cameras that are monitored all the time by someone from India, who can make themselves heard in the business when they see something improper, to reprimand a customer who tries to steal something from the store or to intimidate armed robbers looking for money from the register.
In one of the promotional videos Live Eye sends to potential customers, two robbers dressed in black and armed with assault rifles arrive at a 7-Eleven store forcing the attendant to stand behind the counter.
As you try to open the cash register, the Live Eye alarm system sounds, and the voice over the intercom announces that you have notified the police that you are on your way. The thieves run out of the store and leave the store clerk unharmed.
In another video, three people are seen standing behind the counter, but only two are employees. Suddenly there is a voice from one of the controllers in India asking people in the store to confirm the identity of the third person who is not an employee but is behind the counter. "Do you work in the store?" Asks the voice.
The cashier then says that the person in question is there to relieve one of the employees, who is nearing the end of the shift. The voice then orders the unknown person to stand on the other side of the counter. The cashier apologizes, and the voice thanked everyone for the cooperation.
According to the job posting on the company's website, there is a vacancy for a person based in Karnal, India. Job responsibilities include monitoring sites like convenience stores, gas stations, etc., assisting employees located abroad remotely by phone or camera, and creating reports of any suspicious activity for employees working at the remote site. (abroad) or for customers present on the site.
The job posting states that "it will act as the site's virtual supervisor when it comes to ensuring the safety of overseas employees and requesting them to complete assigned tasks.
The job requires basic computer skills, as 100 percent of the work will be done online. The person must also be a good communicator to give orders in lucid terms.
Live Eye Surveillance claims that it has provided best-in-class services to some of the best-known corporations, such as 7-Eleven, 76, Chevron, Food-Mart, Dairy Queen, and Shell.
Under direct surveillance, we improve the experiences of more than 2,000 users daily while protecting millions of dollars in assets, ”it says on its website.
However, the scope of these security cameras is questioned by employees and experts who claim that more than preventing robberies, constant monitoring does is contribute to the labor exploitation of employees, spying on their every move during their shifts.
"They are using the insecurity about potential theft as an excuse to keep an eye on workers," Eva Blum-Dumontet, principal investigator at Privacy International, told Motherboard.
"It is an excuse to rethink how we are working. What is happening with workplace surveillance is that companies are trying to keep track of their employees to make sure they match their idea of productivity. "It's very toxic to employees' mental health," he added.
According to experts, the pandemic has prompted many companies to opt for surveillance tools like this to monitor the work of their employees, which can have a disproportionate impact on lower-paid workers.
The job insecurity caused by the massive loss of jobs during the confinements has made many workers accept these conditions.