January 12, 2016

London’s Daily Telegraph has bowed to pressure from staffers, announcing it plans to remove controversial desk sensors that tracked when the newspaper’s staffers were sitting at their desks.

The sensors, pitched as an initiative to conserve energy but derided as an invasive attempt to keep journalists in check, were announced and abandoned by management and in a matter of hours, according to The Guardian.

Telegraph management emailed staff at lunchtime, saying the monitors would be in place for four weeks to help plan measures to improve energy efficiency. However, they were told in a later memo that it had been decided to withdraw the under-desk sensors immediately “in the light of feedback we have received”.

The devices track motion and heat to determine whether a workspace is occupied and relay that information to a centralized hub where the data is made available on a desk-by-desk basis. They were initially supposed to be in place for four weeks but were quickly met with a wave of disapproval on social media.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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