Friday, November 16, 2007

Big Brother watches Big Brother

Link

ISLIP, N.Y. (AP) - GPS tracking devices installed on government-issue vehicles are helping communities around the country reduce waste and abuse, in part by catching employees shopping, working out at the gym or otherwise loafing while on the clock.

The use of GPS has led to firings, stoking complaints from employees and unions that the devices are intrusive, Big Brother technology. But city officials say that monitoring employees' movements has deterred abuses, saving the taxpayers money in gasoline and lost productivity.

"We can't have public resources being used on private activities. That's Management 101," Phil Nolan, supervisor of the Long Island town of Islip.

Islip saved nearly 14,000 gallons of gas over a three-month period from the previous year after GPS devices were installed. Nolan said that shows that employees know they are being watched and are no longer using Islip's 614 official vehicles for personal business.