Wal-Mart will soon be recording your audio without your consent.
Imagine walking into Wal-Mart and you start to engage in a casual conversation with your family or friends. Without a second thought, you discuss private matters with your companions thinking your conversation is confidential. Imagine months later realizing that the private conversation that you had could have been recorded.
The goal of Wal-Mart intent for this technology is to try to improve the customer and employee experience. However, recording conversations without consent is illegal in 12 states. Within those 12 states a two-way consent is required before any recording should take place. As far as the other 38 states, it is legal. This raises some good questions, just because something is legal does it make it morally right? People’s private conversation should be as such, private.
Another concern should be the retention of the audio and what it can be used for. Since Wal-Mart is not allowing their customers to consent to having their conversations recorded, could the audio be subpoena in court? Could your audio recorded conversation be the key evidence that lawyers could use against you.
Wal-Mart has always paved the way for other stores and has set the standard in so many ways. If Wal-Mart does implements their audio surveillance technology, just imagine how many other stores will do this. Two-way consent can be as simple at having a sign posted at every entry point for the store stating that audio and video surveillance will be utilized. Continued entry and usage will constitute consent. Also, employees can be required to sign a Statement of Understanding and consent form upon employment. Another alternative for the mega superstore is to offer incentives to employees and customers for completing a customer service questionnaire. This could avoid and further litigation as well.
Read more about this at its source at SC Media: Walmart files patent for audio surveillance technology to monitor employees and customers
Check out this article on CBS News by Jason Silverstein by clicking here.