An employee of Hebo Technology, a high-tech company based in Zhejiang Province China, recently took to social media to expose a practice that he considered illegal and immoral. The woman man, known only as Wang, said that she and at least nine other employees in her office had been monitored via seat cushions for the last several months. The smart cushions were a gift from company management and were supposed to help them them stay healthy, by monitoring their vitals and offering healthy advice, but it turns out they had a more sinister purpose.
Wang said that she and her colleagues initially welcomed the company’s gift, as the smart cushions offered a wealth of data, including breathing rate, heart rate, and sitting posture, and even reminded them to stretch or get up, if they sat down for two long.
Then, one day, Wang ran into one of the managers at the HR department, who asked her why she was not at her desk between 10:00 and 10:30 am the day before, jokingly adding that management would cut her monthly bonus if this behavior persisted. The woman shockingly realized that the only way HR could have known the exact time she had been away from her desk was via the smart seat cushions.
An investigation by Chinese publication 21st Century Business Herald revealed that employees had been given consent forms for data collection, but only in English, not Chinese. A lawyer from the publication also alleged that the company had violated privacy laws by allowing the collected data to be shared with other employees, like the management of human resources.
Link: Oddity Central