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(The New York Times)   Surveillance changes behavior. Ceiling cat unavailable for comment   (bits.blogs.nytimes.com) divider line 74
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3679 clicks; posted to Main » on 05 Sep 2013 at 9:25 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-09-05 02:46:41 AM  
Interesting subject regarding the effect of surveillance on employee theft and fraud.  Some thoughts:

Cause (FTA):
"Most of the restaurant industry pays its servers low wages and they depend on tips."

Effect (FTA):
"Employee turnover is high. In that environment, a certain amount of theft has long been regarded as a normal part of the business."

I find it telling that the emerging industry solution is draconian tactics to persuade a more beneficial outcome for the employer as opposed to improving wages for the employee.


FTA:
"Knowing they were being monitored, the servers not only pulled back on any unethical practices, but also channeled their efforts into, say, prompting customers to have that dessert or a second beer, raising revenue for the restaurant and tips for themselves."

As corporate capitalism has shown over decades, increased revenues for businesses do not translate to employee's benefits -only to business profits.  The beneficial effect of the surveillance to the employees was in the form of tips only and likely minimal at best.


It should be noted; an employee with good pay and benefits has little or no motivation for fraud and/or theft.

/The converse is also true.
 
2013-09-05 08:33:06 AM  
easygfree.files.wordpress.com
 
2013-09-05 08:45:00 AM  
The office seekers were asked whether New York City should have more surveillance cameras. Six of the seven, card-carrying liberals all, replied without hesitation, yes. (Only Anthony Weiner said no.)

Weiner prefers to do his own surveillance.
 
2013-09-05 09:26:54 AM  
Wow, way to report on something we've known since 1791.
 
2013-09-05 09:29:05 AM  
i184.photobucket.com
 
2013-09-05 09:32:13 AM  
media.avclub.com

It's part of the arrangement.
 
2013-09-05 09:32:18 AM  

Frederick: I find it telling that the emerging industry solution is draconian tactics to persuade a more beneficial outcome for the employer as opposed to improving wages for the employee.


I do consulting work from time to time and on this one contract I was brought in to consult on designing and implementing a web filter. I offered a design and resultant set of policies but was told it wasn't strict enough. I mean I filtered out the usual you know violence, criminal stuff, proxy... you know typical stuff that could create a liability issue.

Anyway this client in particular said they wanted the internet locked down tighter than a drum and to only allow enough time to use it during their half hour breaks. I tried to explain to them that in this day and age it wouldn't change anything, people would just use their phones instead then and that very likely they would see productivity go down. They would have none of it, so I did what the customer wanted.

Sure enough, six months later they called me back in to change the policy to something much much looser.
 
2013-09-05 09:32:42 AM  
Yeah, it makes it easier to them to eventually tattoo numbers on you and then send you off to a camp.

Have fun with your land of the free, home of the pants wetting cowards.
 
2013-09-05 09:34:00 AM  

reillan: Wow, way to report on something we've known since 1791.


1791 referring to the Panopticon, I'll wager?
Morals reformed-health preserved-industry invigorated-instruction diffused-public burdens lightened-Economy seated, as it were, upon a rock
 
2013-09-05 09:37:11 AM  
Being paranoid isn't normal, but when you have proof they are indeed watching you, being paranoid is expected.
 
2013-09-05 09:39:57 AM  

Barnstormer: reillan: Wow, way to report on something we've known since 1791.

1791 referring to the Panopticon, I'll wager?
Morals reformed-health preserved-industry invigorated-instruction diffused-public burdens lightened-Economy seated, as it were, upon a rock


I'm glad someone got it :)
 
2013-09-05 09:51:57 AM  
www.rickey.org
 
2013-09-05 09:52:13 AM  
Working in the restaurant industry, I can see both sides of this argument.

Also, subs, way to miss an easy Schrodinger joke.
 
2013-09-05 09:56:02 AM  
Next up: do drivers slow down when they see a police car ahead?

Duh
 
2013-09-05 10:09:22 AM  
upload.wikimedia.org

Jeremy Bentham agrees.
 
2013-09-05 10:27:05 AM  
So, from a societal/civilization stand point, does the "knowing you're being watched" facilitate better behavior, or just obedience?

If they informed the servers that they were now getting paid 7% more because revenue increased, would the servers have been trained to do better and therefore view the constant surveillance as a good thing overall?

How does this fit in to a Big Brother is Watching society? Or a God is watching society? If individuals see personal benefit, will they then justify the surveillance?
 
GBB
2013-09-05 10:27:31 AM  
Surveillance changes behavior?   Isn't the the entire premise of creating an omnipotent god, or Santa Claus?
 
2013-09-05 10:29:06 AM  

IdBeCrazyIf: Frederick: I find it telling that the emerging industry solution is draconian tactics to persuade a more beneficial outcome for the employer as opposed to improving wages for the employee.

I do consulting work from time to time and on this one contract I was brought in to consult on designing and implementing a web filter. I offered a design and resultant set of policies but was told it wasn't strict enough. I mean I filtered out the usual you know violence, criminal stuff, proxy... you know typical stuff that could create a liability issue.

Anyway this client in particular said they wanted the internet locked down tighter than a drum and to only allow enough time to use it during their half hour breaks. I tried to explain to them that in this day and age it wouldn't change anything, people would just use their phones instead then and that very likely they would see productivity go down. They would have none of it, so I did what the customer wanted.

Sure enough, six months later they called me back in to change the policy to something much much looser.


But hey, two consulting fees.
 
2013-09-05 10:31:19 AM  
If you want to watch me scratch my balls that's on you.
 
2013-09-05 10:32:18 AM  

GBB: Surveillance changes behavior?   Isn't the the entire premise of creating an omnipotent god, or Santa Claus?


It might help explain the meme influence loop, at least.
 
2013-09-05 10:35:22 AM  

Frederick: e noted; an employee with good pay and benefits has little or no motivation for fraud and/or theft


Not always true. My wife took over as head chef at a country club and it pays their servers not server wage which is less than minimum, or minimum wage, but an actual respectable wage plus tips. Many of the servers have worked there for 10 years or more because they can take home after taxes $700/week not including their cash tips or extra income from the banquets or wedding functions. The first thing she did when she got there was go through the old inventory sheets and found that people had been scamming entire cases of chicken wings, entire prime ribs, cases of wine etc. When she brought it up to the director of operations he said it had been like that since he had started and it was just how restaurants ran. She had the order codes changed so that servers couldn't do refunds or void items without management approval and she installed locks on the fridges and freezers and a camera to monitor the backroom. The result was that immediately the profits started trending up since the inventory makes sense and the food and beverage department actually turned a profit for the first time since it opened. Most people are honest but there will always be people that will see a case of wine as just a nice little extra for putting in that three hours of overtime or a box of chicken wings as payment for not having time to go to the grocery store before work.
 
2013-09-05 10:36:31 AM  

icebergcomics: So, from a societal/civilization stand point, does the "knowing you're being watched" facilitate better behavior, or just obedience?


Dunno. But it does work.
 
2013-09-05 10:37:54 AM  
I thought that "Reality TV" proved that a thousand times over. 90% of the drama on that Detroit pawn shop show is because there's a camera for the AW's in the crowd.
 
2013-09-05 10:42:08 AM  

RTOGUY: ays true. My wife took over as head chef at a country club and it pays their servers not server wage which is less than minimum, or minimum wage, but an actual respectable wage plus tips. Many of the servers have worked there for 10 years or more because they can take home after taxes $700/week not including their cash tips or extra income from the banquets or wedding functions. The first thing she did when she got there was go through the old inventory sheets and found that people had been scamming entire cases of chicken wings, entire prime ribs, cases of wine etc. When she brought it up to the director of operations he said it had been like that since he had started and it was just how restaurants ran. She had the order codes changed so that servers couldn't do refunds or void items without management approval and she installed locks on the fridges and freezers and a camera to monitor the backroom. The result was that immediately the profits started trending up since the inventory makes sense and the food and beverage department actually turned a profit for the first time since it opened. Most people are honest but there will always be people that will see a case of wine as just a nice little extra for putting in that three hours of overtime or a box of chicken wings as payment for not having time to go to the grocery store before work.


See also Act Three of "This American Life" episode "See No Evil"

In the 1970s, Dave Kestenbaum's cousin Dan Weiss got promoted from stocker to gift shop manager at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC. It was a good job... except for the fact that the place was bleeding cash because of apparent embezzlement. The gift shop staff? Almost all senior citizen volunteers. Dave is a reporter with NPR's Planet Money.
 
2013-09-05 10:42:50 AM  

RTOGUY: Frederick: e noted; an employee with good pay and benefits has little or no motivation for fraud and/or theft

Not always true. My wife took over as head chef at a country club and it pays their servers not server wage which is less than minimum, or minimum wage, but an actual respectable wage plus tips. Many of the servers have worked there for 10 years or more because they can take home after taxes $700/week not including their cash tips or extra income from the banquets or wedding functions. The first thing she did when she got there was go through the old inventory sheets and found that people had been scamming entire cases of chicken wings, entire prime ribs, cases of wine etc. When she brought it up to the director of operations he said it had been like that since he had started and it was just how restaurants ran. She had the order codes changed so that servers couldn't do refunds or void items without management approval and she installed locks on the fridges and freezers and a camera to monitor the backroom. The result was that immediately the profits started trending up since the inventory makes sense and the food and beverage department actually turned a profit for the first time since it opened. Most people are honest but there will always be people that will see a case of wine as just a nice little extra for putting in that three hours of overtime or a box of chicken wings as payment for not having time to go to the grocery store before work.


Yes to all of that.  My uncle served at a country club and would bring home $6000 in December, $4000 most other months.  It's an excellent career if you know your wines and have the right demeanor.  The most skillful waitstaff can make even more than that.  Don't feel bad for a 60-year-old guy working the tables at a fancy restaurant.  He's made more money, eaten better food, and drank finer wine than most people ever will.

Even with no "motivation," rich people steal, too.  There's greed, there's "what can I get away with," and there's "look how clever I am!" And there's Marie Schrader.
 
2013-09-05 10:44:56 AM  

wildcardjack: I thought that "Reality TV" proved that a thousand times over. 90% of the drama on that Detroit pawn shop show is because there's a camera for the AW's in the crowd.

it's fictionalized drama.

If you've ever watched reality TV and thought to yourself "This is how real people actually act," you are the sucker.
 
2013-09-05 10:48:34 AM  

Wangiss: But hey, two consulting fees.


I will not deny that very often my livelihood is dependent on stupidity
 
GBB
2013-09-05 10:49:26 AM  

IdBeCrazyIf: Frederick: I find it telling that the emerging industry solution is draconian tactics to persuade a more beneficial outcome for the employer as opposed to improving wages for the employee.

I do consulting work from time to time and on this one contract I was brought in to consult on designing and implementing a web filter. I offered a design and resultant set of policies but was told it wasn't strict enough. I mean I filtered out the usual you know violence, criminal stuff, proxy... you know typical stuff that could create a liability issue.

Anyway this client in particular said they wanted the internet locked down tighter than a drum and to only allow enough time to use it during their half hour breaks. I tried to explain to them that in this day and age it wouldn't change anything, people would just use their phones instead then and that very likely they would see productivity go down. They would have none of it, so I did what the customer wanted.

Sure enough, six months later they called me back in to change the policy to something much much looser.


I work as a dispatcher in law enforcement.  Our IT dept subscribes to WebSense and has it set to "China".  Their reasoning makes a little sense: they want us focused on answering 911 calls in a timely manner, don't want us to be distracted when calls for service pop up on our monitors, and management wants to limit liability when shat meets fan.   The only issues with this is that when we need legitimate access to sites, many times innocuous, it turns out to be blocked.  No one has any problems with social media being blocked, but it makes no sense that when we try to get onto a neighboring police department's website, it's blocked.   Heck, up until a few months ago, I was using Yahoo! Maps because they accurately shade different tax jurisdictions (used to determine law enforcement jurisdiction) on their maps.  Blocked, for no reason, and they refuse to unblock it.  We are forced to use Google Maps, which if you've ever noticed, randomly shade all over the place through random property lines for no apparent reason.  And, they suck at mapping addresses on numerically and directionally named highways.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-09-05 10:50:46 AM  
While I don't generally care for Glenn Greenwald, I have several times pointed people to his surveillance state speech from last year. He makes good points about how being watched changes people even when they aren't doing anything illegal.
 
2013-09-05 10:54:01 AM  

IdBeCrazyIf: Wangiss: But hey, two consulting fees.

I will not deny that very often my livelihood is dependent on stupidity


I love getting a call back when someone finally takes my advice.  I won't link to it, but one website I built looked very, very bad.  Good bones, but a teal and orange color scheme.  I called it "garish" and advised we change it to something more professional.  But the owner paid me for it; it was what he wanted.  Two months later an independent reviewer said it looked "like a Mexican's website" and that SoCal client of mine ran back with money in hand for a do-over.  Yeah, I'll take money from racists, lol.
 
2013-09-05 10:54:20 AM  
not always, else the scumbags on reality TV would be less scumbaggy
 
2013-09-05 10:54:25 AM  
I have also changed my behavior thanks to watching surveillance videos. Liveleak has really made me think about how I move about as a pedestrian.

I haven't suddenly started scampering around, jumping at shadows, just made some simple adjustments to lessen the odds of becoming road kill due to rotten bad luck. eg. Where possible I always choose to walk on the footpath facing oncoming traffic**. To be extremely cautious if, as a pedestrian crossing a road, a car stops and waves you thru. And never evarr again am I going to cross a busy road in two stages via waiting on a centre island. I've probably made a dozen adjustments to varying degrees.


** That one's been around probably before cars were invented. But watching Liveleak CCTV reminders of pedestrian maimings REALLY sheets it home!

I've seen quite a few Liveleak forum members who freely admit they've shown graphic CCTV traffic video clips to their children. "Kid being violently thrown 30 feet along the road coz he ran out without checking properly" videos. For their own good.
 
2013-09-05 10:55:00 AM  
It makes sense.
When there is the definite situation of "I can get fired" or "It's going to come out of my pocket", a person is more likely to follow the rules.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2013-09-05 10:55:41 AM  
The only issues with this is that when we need legitimate access to sites, many times innocuous, it turns out to be blocked.

I'm lucky I haven't had to deal with that sort of corporate IT since the 1990s. Back then the network security guy blocked Dilbert and geocities and anything else that might be considered frivolous. But there was something nonfrivolous on geocities that I needed to get to for work, and the security boss had gone on vacation with instructions to stall any complainers until he got back in a couple weeks.

These days corporations don't seem to be as strict, and if they allow outbound ssh I can get what I want anyway.
 
2013-09-05 10:57:16 AM  

ZAZ: While I don't generally care for Glenn Greenwald, I have several times pointed people to his surveillance state speech from last year. He makes good points about how being watched changes people even when they aren't doing anything illegal.


It's been said "a watched man is not a free man."

A former boss of mine, on his last day, mentioned that he thought it would help humanity to have RF chips embedded at birth.  (This did not reflect his management style, thank God.)  I asked him, "then whose conscience would you be following, yours or the state's?"  I think that changed his mind.
 
2013-09-05 10:58:29 AM  

PizzaJedi81: Working in the restaurant industry, I can see both sides of this argument.

Also, subs, way to miss an easy Schrodinger joke.


Seconded.
 
2013-09-05 10:59:54 AM  
I'm not a fan of the premise that all employees are crooks.  Most of the places I've worked for, that is not the case and in the instances where owners or management had that concept, it turned out that THEY were the dishonest and or the crooks.  It is not a positive, team forming or confidence building  employee - management relationship model to follow.  It disrupts cohesion and creates an "Us Vs' Them" mentality. If your fist step in relations is to basically accuse your employees of being thief's then don't be surprised if people who would normally not take that extra little bit or leftover what ever, now do since you have all ready tried and found them guilty of having done it.  Don't start off by bringing about that which you don't want.
 
2013-09-05 11:03:11 AM  
www.jcnot4me.com

What surveillance to change behavior looks like...
 
2013-09-05 11:05:02 AM  

reillan: Barnstormer: reillan: Wow, way to report on something we've known since 1791.

1791 referring to the Panopticon, I'll wager?
Morals reformed-health preserved-industry invigorated-instruction diffused-public burdens lightened-Economy seated, as it were, upon a rock

I'm glad someone got it :)


The term panopticon should be used more often.

Also, do people start exhibiting the kind of neurotic behavior you see in zoo animals when they are aware they are always being watched?
 
2013-09-05 11:05:04 AM  

Misch: icebergcomics: So, from a societal/civilization stand point, does the "knowing you're being watched" facilitate better behavior, or just obedience?

Dunno. But it does work.


Someone needs to read Michele Foucault.
 
2013-09-05 11:07:49 AM  

ikanreed: wildcardjack: I thought that "Reality TV" proved that a thousand times over. 90% of the drama on that Detroit pawn shop show is because there's a camera for the AW's in the crowd. it's fictionalized drama.

If you've ever watched reality TV and thought to yourself "This is how real people actually act," you are the sucker.


I don't know, buddy. I tell you what, I've got a pal who's an expert at suckers. Let me call him so he can come on down and confirm this.
 
2013-09-05 11:08:06 AM  

ikanreed: wildcardjack: I thought that "Reality TV" proved that a thousand times over. 90% of the drama on that Detroit pawn shop show is because there's a camera for the AW's in the crowd. it's fictionalized drama.

If you've ever watched reality TV and thought to yourself "This is how real people actually act," you are the sucker.


It's as real as pro wrestling. Using racial slurs for ratings? Pretty much stealing from the Iron Sheik. Kayfabe, baby.
 
2013-09-05 11:11:41 AM  

Misch: icebergcomics: So, from a societal/civilization stand point, does the "knowing you're being watched" facilitate better behavior, or just obedience?

Dunno. But it does work.


Which is why prisons are the most obedient places around.
 
2013-09-05 11:13:06 AM  

Quackadam: I'm not a fan of the premise that all employees are crooks.  Most of the places I've worked for, that is not the case and in the instances where owners or management had that concept, it turned out that THEY were the dishonest and or the crooks.  It is not a positive, team forming or confidence building  employee - management relationship model to follow.  It disrupts cohesion and creates an "Us Vs' Them" mentality. If your fist step in relations is to basically accuse your employees of being thief's then don't be surprised if people who would normally not take that extra little bit or leftover what ever, now do since you have all ready tried and found them guilty of having done it.  Don't start off by bringing about that which you don't want.


The problem is that it's easier for management to brand everyone a crook than it is to balance between the needs of the company and the respect of the employee. Basically, the true litmus of whether your employees are going to rob you deaf, dumb, and blind is the culture at the work place.

The less people care and are invested in success, the more it will cost you to get to success. This includes all costs, not just in theft. Overtime? If they are invested, they might forgive you an hour of OT at some point. That's cheaper! Productivity? They will spend better mental and physical resources on your task (this is beyond "goofing off") if they are invested.

And so forth. Unfortunately, companies don't care about this as it's not dollars and cents trackable (E.G., if you track the overtime you aren't paid for, a smart company would pay you when it found out about it to avoid the potential labor board), which makes them popular with investors. Employees are second-rate.
 
2013-09-05 11:20:01 AM  
"Will we next create false gods to rule over us? How proud we have become, and how blind."

-Sister Miriam Godwinson,
"We Must Dissent"

Amazing how technology has enabled us to be in favor of surveillance and snitching that makes the Stasi look like a cub scout troop.

That said, solid management and controls help keep a good man honest. Even honest people will pocket something if it's easy with little chance of being caught.
 
2013-09-05 11:20:50 AM  
"Not surprisingly, NCR is delighted by the results. "It validates the customer data we've seen," said Jeff Hindman, a vice president at NCR."

I'm Mr. New Vegas, and that's all the news I have for you today.
 
2013-09-05 11:28:10 AM  
By casual dining they mean Chipoltes. There are cameras above the register and software hooked into the POS to identify suspicious transactions(eg if someone is paying cash, keep the money and remove the items from the ticket and just add the next customers) and correlate them to the correct spot on the video.
 
2013-09-05 11:28:40 AM  

lockers: Being paranoid isn't normal, but when you have proof they are indeed watching you, being paranoid is expected.


If you know you're actually being watched, then it's the polar opposite of paranoia. Paranoia (by definition) involves beliefs that are irrational and even delusional.
 
2013-09-05 11:35:48 AM  
 
2013-09-05 11:40:16 AM  
Frederick: FTA: "Knowing they were being monitored, the servers not only pulled back on any unethical practices, but also channeled their efforts into, say, prompting customers to have that dessert or a second beer, raising revenue for the restaurant and tips for themselves."
~
~
Yeah that really jumped out at me too. It sounded like a bullet talking point from a large business-oriented think tank lobby group.

 
Also reminded me a bit of those charming old "community service" short films from the 1940s and 1950s, where everything has a happy ending and people are easily shown the error of their ways by a know-it-all mentor.

i42.tinypic.com


The comment is quite conspicuous, wedged in there after all the fairly interesting "before and after" theft statistics. Conspicuous and very slimy, like a paid piece.
 
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