Digital privacy experts are raising red flags about Walmart’s plans to give 740,000 employees free smartphones that the company says will improve worker productivity without collecting personal data.
Walmart said Thursday that it planned to give nearly half its US employees free Samsung Galaxy phones by the end of the year. Employees will use the phones to access the “Me@Walmart” app, which will allow them to clock in, manage shifts and communicate with supervisors.
Employees will also be allowed to take the phones home for personal use.
But Darrell West, a senior fellow at the Center of Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution, had some blunt advice for Walmart workers: “Turn down the phone.”
“Employees should realize when they’re using company provided phones, the company can engage in surveillance on what they do on that phone,” West told The Post. “That can include a wide range of personal, financial and social interactions. Basically everything you do on that phone can be subject to surveillance.”
According to privacy disclosures on the Apple App Store, the “Me@Walmart” app can access employee data including financial information, precise location data and health and fitness information.
Walmart promises that this information is only used for