Surveillance is certainly much in the news lately.
Most notably, of course, there is the continuing outcry over the National Security Agency’s call-tracking program, disclosed in the documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
But surveillance even surfaced as a subject in last week’s televised debate among the Democratic candidates for mayor in New York. 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.)
Most of the public discussion of surveillance technology and its use revolves around the question: Is it spooky or reassuring?
But another issue is the effect of surveillance on behavior. And a new research paper, published on Saturday, shows in detail how significant the surveillance effect can be.
The paper, “Cleaning House: The Impact of Information Technology Monitoring on Employee Theft and Productivity,” is the work of three academics: Lamar Pierce, an associate professor at the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis; Daniel Snow, an associate professor at the Marriott School at Brigham Young University; and Andrew McAfee, a research scientist at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The researchers measured the impact of software that monitors employee-level theft and sales transactions, before and after the technology was installed, at 392 restaurants in 39 states. The restaurants were in five “casual dining” chains. The paper does not name the five, but it cites examples of the casual dining category including Applebee’s, Chili’s and Olive Garden.
Employee theft and fraud is a big problem, estimated at up to $200 billion a year across the economy. In the restaurant industry, analysts estimate the losses from employee theft at 1 percent of revenue. That does not seem like a lot, but restaurant profit margins are slender, typically 2 to 5 percent. So cutting down on theft can be an important contributor to a restaurant’s financial health.
Most of the restaurant industry pays its servers low wages and they depend on tips. Employee turnover is high. In that environment, a certain amount of theft has long been regarded as a normal part of the business.
Unethical behavior runs the gamut. There is even a how-to book on the subject, published in 2004, “How To Burn Down the House: The Infamous Waiter and Bartender’s Scam Bible by Two Bourbon Street Waiters.” A simple example is a bartender’s not charging for a round of drinks, and urging the customers to “take care of me” — with a large tip. Other tactics are more elaborate.
But monitoring software is now available to track all transactions and detect suspicious patterns.
The Latest on: Surveillance Changes Behavior
- Want to Nudge Your Behavior in the Right Direction? Practice A Little Self-Surveillance on September 12, 2017 at 10:55 am
Rates of compliance increased when instructions were accompanied by subtle surveillance cues. These findings reinforce the importance of directing attention towards the individual when trying to encourage behavior change, and beyond that, suggest it may ... […]
- Officials: FBI saw 'change in behavior' in Boston man on June 2, 2015 at 2:35 pm
A man police killed in Boston was under terror surveillance. CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem and former FBI official Shawn Henry discuss. […]
- Creepy autonomous AI CCTV surveillance network watches all of Boston on April 16, 2014 at 5:00 pm
It’s taught itself what to look for.” AISight’s analysis of human behavior based on surveillance footage “promises to change the way humans conduct their surveillance of other humans,” and is already being adopted in Chicago and Washington as well. […]
- How Surveillance Changes Behavior: A Restaurant Workers Case Study on August 26, 2013 at 6:53 am
Surveillance is certainly much in the news lately. Most notably, of course, there is the continuing outcry over the National Security Agency’s call-tracking program, disclosed in the documents leaked by Edward Snowden. But surveillance even surfaced as a ... […]
- Surveillance Fears Push People To Change Online Behavior on July 21, 2013 at 5:00 pm
Cryptocat said it nearly doubled its number of users in two days after Snowden revealed himself as the source of leaks about the NSA’s programs. Two search engine companies billed as alternatives to Google, Bing and Yahoo are also reporting significant ... […]
- Terrorists change behavior after leaks, lawmaker says on June 13, 2013 at 5:00 pm
A top Republican lawmaker claimed Thursday terrorists have already started to change their behavior after a self-described NSA whistleblower leaked information about classified U.S. surveillance programs to various media outlets, saying the leaks may make ... […]
- Why The NSA’s Secret Online Surveillance Should Scare You on June 7, 2013 at 10:30 am
The more we accept perpetual government and corporate surveillance as the norm, the more we change our actions and behavior to fit that expectation — subtly but inexorably corrupting the liberal ideal that each person should be free to live life as ... […]
- Retailers May Start Targeting Customers With New Surveillance Technology on October 22, 2012 at 10:51 am
We've covered surveillance tech that identifies faces and people under the influence, even an iPhone app that helps block potential spies, government or otherwise. Now there's surveillance that could change the ... a shopper's behavior — and a 'confused ... […]
- Behavioral Analytics Software offers intelligent surveillance. on September 27, 2011 at 5:00 pm
HOUSTON, -- Behavioral Recognition Systems, Inc. (BRS Labs) announces the release of the latest version of AISight® (pronounced: eye sight), the first and only Behavioral Analytics solution for intelligent video surveillance. This latest release ... […]
via Google News and Bing News