When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

BEIJING —Using technology to get the most out of your workers, it seems, is a goal shared by employers around the world. From Silcon Valley to Shanghai, punch cards and time clocks are being upgraded with biometric tracking, fingerprint recognition and facial scanning to avoid fraud such as so-called "buddy clocking."

But now, Bejing Dailyreports, there are a whole new set of tools that Chinse companies are using to guard against workers slacking off. When an employee arrives at the office or factory, his smartphone connects automatically to the company Wi-Fi to track his presence. Other companies are using location-based social plug-in apps such as WeChat to track not only whether a worker is on site, but also precisely where.

Some workers actually see an upside: "I used to arrive at work at least 10 minutes earlier than my start time, but there was always a queue of people in front of me clocking in that made it really stressful," Yuhan told the Bejing Daily. "Now I am no longer anxious every morning about being fined."

But most of those interviewed don't like all the new eyes. "I can't go anymore in the toilet just to make a few phone calls, or check up on the Internet," one worker who gave his name as Hong lamented. "Big Brother is always watching you."

The use of mobile apps is particularly effective for bosses who want to track their employees' working hours and location when dispatched for work out in the field.

"Now I'm required to send a geographical indication and a selfie to my section chief through a social-media service, once in the morning and another time at the end of the day, to prove that I really am where I'm supposed to be working," grumbled one employee.

But there's more: To be sure that a photo isn't faked in advance, workers are required to take selfies in a particular pose that the boss indicates at the last minute. It's a bit like the digital world's version of photographs of kidnapping victims holding the newspaper to prove the date it was taken. So much for Internet freedom.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Geopolitics

Why The 'Perfect Storm' Of Iran's Protests May Be Unstoppable

The latest round of anti-regime protests in Iran is different than other in the 40 years of the Islamic Republic: for its universality and boldness, the level of public fury and grief, and the role of women and social media. The target is not some policy or the economy, but the regime itself.

A woman holds a lock of her hair during a London rally to protest the murder of Mahsa Amini in London

Roshanak Astaraki

-Analysis-

The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in Tehran on Sept. 16, after a possible beating at a police station, has sparked outrage and mass protests in Iran and abroad. There have been demonstrations and a violent attempt to suppress them in more than 100 districts in every province of Iran.

These protests may look like others since 2017, and back even to 1999 — yet we may be facing an unprecedented turning point in Iranians' opposition to the Islamic Republic. Indeed newly installed conservative President Ibrahim Raisi could not have expected such momentum when he set off for a quick trip to New York and back for a meeting of the UN General Assembly.

For one of the mistakes of a regime that takes pride in dismissing the national traditions of Iran is to have overlooked the power of grief among our people.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ