Skip to navigationSkip to content

A newspaper thought it was a good idea to install motion sensors at its workers’ desks

Reuters/Luke MacGregor
Working 9 to 5. At least
  • Aamna Mohdin
By Aamna Mohdin


Published This article is more than 2 years old.

When journalists at The Daily Telegraph’s London headquarters turned up to work on Monday morning (Jan 11), they were in for a shock. The British newspaper had installed wireless motion detectors on its staff’s desks.

They use heat and motion sensors to monitor whether someone is using their desk. A memo to staff explained that the device would be in place for four weeks, would be used to monitor the amount of power used for heating, lighting, and cooling, Buzzfeed News reports. The devices are called OccupEye:

But National Union of Journalists heavily criticized the paper for carrying what it called “Big Brother-style surveillance” on its staff. Hours after Buzzfeed News reported it, the Telegraph announced that it will withdraw the monitoring device “in the light of feedback we have received. We will be looking at alternative ways to gather the environmental sustainability data we need.”

And possibly track what their journalists are up to. When reached for comment, the Telegraph declined to add anything beyond its memo to staff.

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.