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Amazon patents wristbands that track warehouse workers hands, raising HR and privacy concerns




Amazon employees aid job seekers through the registration process during a jobs fair at the Amazon Fulfillment Center on August 2, 2017 in Robbinsville, New Jersey.
Amazon employees aid job seekers through the registration process during a jobs fair at the Amazon Fulfillment Center on August 2, 2017 in Robbinsville, New Jersey.
Mark Makela/Getty Images

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Last week, Amazon received two patents for wristbands that could track the wearer’s hand movement and buzz them if they begin wandering in the wrong direction.

At this point, the device is theoretical, but it’s already raising concerns about privacy and workplace morale.

The patented bracelets would use ultrasonic sound pulses or radio transmissions so that a receiver can track an employee’s hands in relation to inventory bins. The wristbands could be used in Amazon’s fulfillment centers.

The promise of the tech is that it could make life easier and more efficient for employees, but privacy advocates have concerns about the data collected and how it would be used, as well as how this would affect workplace morale.

We talk to a tech reporter and an employment lawyer and HR specialist about the promise and the drawbacks of Amazon’s wireless tracker wearables.

With guest host Libby Denkmann.

Guests:

Karen Weise, reporter with Bloomberg Technology and Bloomberg Businessweek; she tweets @KYWeise  

Kate Bischoff, owner of tHRive Law & Consulting, an employment law and HR consulting firm; she tweets @k8bischHRLaw