Street cleaners in parts of China are reportedly being forced to wear GPS-tracking smartwatches so employers can monitor how hard they work, sparking public outrage and concern over increasing mass surveillance across the country.
- An alarm function ordering cleaners to work has reportedly been removed, but the GPS function remains
- One company said the devices were introduced to reduce management costs
- Analysts said the devices marked the latest Chinese trend threatening personal freedom
According to a recent Xinhua News Agency report, more than 500 street cleaners employed by the Nanjing West Bank Environmental Service are required to wear smartwatches while working.
If the smartwatch detects a worker standing still for over 20 minutes, it sounds an alarm.
“Add oil, add oil [work harder, work harder!],” the wristbands’ alarm says, several cleaners from the eastern city of Nanjing told Jiangsu Television earlier this month.