• Big 4

    Deloitte Dabbles in Orwellian Tracking Devices

    By | September 24, 2015

    A Deloitte office in Canada had volunteers wear a device that tracked their every movement and their every conversation. The gadget looks and works like what you would expect if an ID badge had sex with an iPhone.

    The maker of these devices, a company ironically named Humanyze, claims that their devices track more than where you are physically in the office, they’re sensitive enough to decode the nuance of your gestures. And although Humanyze claims that the badge doesn’t record your conversations, it does produce a detailed analysis of how and when you speak.

    The mic is gauging the tone of your voice and how frequently you are contributing in meetings. Hidden accelerometers measure your body language and track how often you push away from your desk.

    So at the end of every day, you’ll know exactly how many times — and with what conviction — you screamed, “Why the hell did I agree to wear this fucking thing!” Fortunately for the participants at Deloitte, Canadians never raise their voice.

    The creators and the consumers of the badges are emphatic that the goal of these devices is not to find and punish slackers and rebels. However, the accuracy of the device is unclear. Will the Humanyze badge mistakenly report that you were having sex in the breakroom when you were merely trying to get a coworkers keys out of his or her pocket using your penis?

    The goal of these badges is individual and team productivity and effectiveness.

    "To be able to show you — here's what the people who get promoted do … here's what the top performers do, here's what the happiest people do — and show that change over time and how your behaviour is changing over time" is very powerful, [the CEO of Humanyze] said.

    They’re saying that people using the device receive actionable data that they can use to get ahead at their firm. For instance, you may realize that you need to start popping Imodium because top performers only take a shit once every three days.

    "The minute that you get the report that you're not speaking enough and that you don't show leadership, immediately, the next day, you change your behaviour," said [the] analytics leader at Deloitte, who steered the Newfoundland pilot.

    Plus there’s the observer effect where individuals “up their game” in response to their awareness of being observed. You don’t fuck off in the break room for an hour and a half if you think the partners are watching. You hang the Humanyze badge on your chair under your coat, and then you go fuck off in the break room for an hour and a half.

    They're intended to help balance group discussions, create a work environment with positive interactions and show how each employee fits into the bigger picture using irrefutable data.

    Because when it comes to whether or not you’re a shitty leader, nothing’s as irrefutable as  body language and tone of voice.

    The issue with these devices is the value of privacy versus productivity, and some people still cling to their outdated need for privacy.

    Businesses have every right to monitor their employees' performance. "You're there to work, you're being paid," [Ontario's former information and privacy commissioner] said, "And if it is made very clear to you that we monitor your [actions] … then the employee has the choice whether they want to work in a workplace like that. I think it is unreasonable to think that workplaces and employers are not going to use every means available to increase efficiency and productivity."

    And technically “every means available” includes meth.

    • SouthernCPA

      Did these people volunteer, or were they voluntold?

      • N.E.R.D.


    • DyingHere

      No one in their right mind would want to work in a situation like that. All the top talent will be gone in no time.

    • MWCPA

      “Irrefutable data” – the use of this phrase let’s me know this person is actually a moron. I can make a data set say damn near anything I want. It’s not the data – it’s how you interpret and present it.

    • Women don’t need sideburns

      The gadget looks and works like what you would EXPECT if an ID badge had sex with an iPhone. – Except?

      • Mike O’Neil

        Except the gadget has down’s syndrome

    • CajunAuditorTeyonce

      boondoggling just got a lot riskier at deloitte.

    • Women don’t need sideburns

      If Don Draper had to wear this, that Ad Firm would have sent all of its staff to that Hippie Resort in CA.

      • keepin_it_real

        At least an awesome Coke commercial would come out of it.

    • Women don’t need sideburns

      Top 10 things you can do for fun.
      1.Swap devices with an unbeknownst top performer.
      2.Leave it with TSA at the Airport.
      3.Claim that you have fallen, and cannot get up.
      4.Get a gold case with rhinestones for only $59
      5.Take it to a club.
      6.Take a club to it.
      7.Add it as one of your LinkedIn Skills.
      8.If you have cleavage stick it in there like a cookie is half-dipped into an ice cream dessert.
      9.Suggest that it bounces too much while walking and that it would be easier if they could just sew it into your chest.
      10.After a month of wearing it, falsely report that you now have cancer.

      • Tie it to your dog. Ask for a raise due to all the activity you’ve been participating in.

        • buthurt

          Do you think the device would recognize the humping motions?

          • Scharfinator

            I hope so. How else can they track all the Deloitte bro’s together?

      • Another exKPMGer

        If any of these poor bastards have to go to Texas for a client they’re going to get arrested for wearing a bomb around their neck.

        • MWCPA

          If those poor bastards have to go to Texas for a client they’re going to wish they were wearing a bomb around their neck.

    • Big4Veteran

      I once had a senior manager who used to tell me that he was visiting another client. Then the senior on that other client would tell me that they all thought the senior manager was visiting my client. It would be awesome to know where the senior manager actually was all those days. We speculated that he was sitting at home watching TV in his underwear.

      I am generally against the use of this device in public accounting, but I’d be ok with making senior managers wear it.

      • Point and Clique

        It’s been too long since we had some quality senior manager hate. Always a pleasure to read.

      • liEYr

        Completely naked…eating cheetos….and watching porn. Bingo.

        • MWCPA

          or in other words “living the dream”

        • Jennifer

          And probably ugly, too. Yuck.

          • MWCPA

            Hey I’m ugly. Why can’t I sit around naked eating cheetos and playing video games?

            • Jennifer

              Go ahead. I just don’t want to see it.

    • Big4Veteran

      This is just The Man dialing up the War between master and servant another notch. The Man will temporarily be proud of himself for finding a way to further suppress the help, but eventually the poorly treated help will think up new ways to fuck The Man in return. This is the entirety of human history.

      • “eventually the poorly treated help will think up new ways to fuck The Man in return”

        See Women Don’t Need Sideburns’s post below.

        • Big4Veteran

          To clarify. This is just the latest example of the rich constantly striving to squeeze more and more out of the poor to make a few more bucks. Dehumanizing the poor and treating them as “the help” rather than as human beings. There is no gratitude for the effort and sacrifices that the poor already make to help the rich get richer. The rich just want more and more. Unfortunately for the rich, they don’t realize that this cannot continue forever, and at some point there will be reckoning.

          • …..

          • MWCPA

            Workers of the world unite! (Not kidding)

          • SouthernCPA

            There will be reckoning… or machines.

            And it all went down when someone decided that employees were a “resource”

            • buthurt

              I just love the word “resource”. We don’t say “we need more people to help with this shit”, instead we say “we need more fucking resources”, as if all the minions are just commodities (which we are).

      • MWCPA

        Find some good oratory on youtube or maybe play 12 Angry Men on repeat. Throw all your monitors next to the speakers and move on. Or attach it to an oscillating fan.

      • FartDude

        We cook your meals, we haul your trash, (we do your taxes), we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances. We guard you while you sleep. Do no F— with us!

    • SmallFry

      I LOLed @ “Fortunately for the participants at Deloitte, Canadians never raise their voice”

    • Another exKPMGer

      Congrats Greg on your second-ever post that’s worth reading! I enjoyed this one just as I did the FIFA piece. And the thing about the sex between the iPhone and ID badge, that was funny to me! You should have come up with a crossover name for the couple, like Kimye or, well, whoever else they do that shit to. I’ve really got no ideas other than Sir’iD and iDiri, and those both suck, but hey, i’m not a part time stand up comedian so it’s not surprising they suck. Maybe we could do a straight nickname, like “The Tattler” or “The Rat.” With this little gem, all the suck asses who get their promotions by making all the other staff look useless will have to find another way to screw everyone else over. This is priceless!

    • Point and Clique

      “then the employee has the choice whether they want to work in a workplace like that”

      Yeah, except for the fact that there aren’t unlimited alternatives and given the way the world works, you have to fucking work somewhere or you’ll starve to death.

      Ontario’s former information and privacy commissioner is a fucking moron.

    • jamescaseyforu

      This is probably one of the worst things I have ever heard on top of putting bed desks in offices to nap in. I don’t want to nap at work I want to do my job and go home. This isn’t a sweat shop in China, where our lives revolve around work. If you are too stupid to realize you aren’t a high performer, a hi-tech necklace isn’t going to help with that.

      When did this country get away from working your 8 hours, eating lunch with your coworkers, going home to your wife and family, eating a good cooked meal, and relaxing at night and playing with your kids, without any work distractions?

      • DyingHere

        Employers realized they made more money by having their people work more and pay them the same. Simple concept.

      • Mike O’Neil

        Big4 expectation is that you work 80-100 hrs/wk because you’re a “Professional” (professional idiot, that is)

      • FartDude

        “This isn’t a sweat shop in China…”


      • Honna3030

        Correction: If you are stupid enough to BE a high performer, a hi-tech necklace isn’t going to help with that.

    • Jennifer

      “Because when it comes to whether or not you’re a shitty leader, nothing’s as irrefutable as body language and tone of voice.”

      But does this device pick up expressions of annoyance? Costanza says that’s the way to look productive.

    • The Horniest Partner

      (CSB) years ago a manager told me she was driving to a dr. appt and spotted a senior on the road who was supposed to be at a client. manager called senior who said they were at client and went into details on what they were testing. That senior also had a porn, dating site issue. She was married. (CSB)

    • SatansAccountant30809

      I can see my firm doing this..they already complain about billable time and how their “resources” aren’t that profitable or we have too much downtime…

      • buthurt

        Doesn’t matter how much you actually are – if the budget is low, there’s only so much time you can charge.

        We all know that fees are not getting much higher regardless of how much work PCAOB want us to do, so maybe it’s time to relax the margin requirements so that we can have a slightly more realistic budget. Better yet, maybe it’s time for the partners to take a look at how much they are taking home and ask whether those numbers are still reasonable in a regulatory environment where revenues are stagnant while costs keep rising.

        Oh who am I kidding. There’s no chance they’d do that.

    • Mark_Prepared

      I hope we are able to see our own stats, I want an annual number on the times I have to step away from my desk and go jerk off in the bathroom