A report today from Reuters, quoting the Wall Street Journal, reveals that Wal-Mart has a "sophisticated surveillance operation that included snooping not only on employees, but also on critics, stockholders and the consulting firm McKinsey & Co."
The revelations come from Bruce Gebbard, a Wal-Mart security worker who was fired in March for conducting unauthorized surveillance on behalf of the company. Gebbard admitted intercepting telephone calls from a NY Times reporter.
"Gebbard said in the Journal that he recorded the calls on his own because he felt pressured to stop embarrassing leaks. But he said in the Journal that most of his spying activities were sanctioned by superiors."
"The company also deployed cutting-edge monitoring systems made by a supplier to the Defense Department that allowed it to capture and record the actions of anyone connected to its global computer network, the Journal said."
Yikes. I assume that includes anyone who shops Wal-Mart online. And you have to wonder how much information they can capture.
Wal-Mart characterizes its security operations as normal.
We'll see. Something tells me that we're going to hear more about this. In the meantime, employees need to understand that these kinds of systems and programs exist and conduct themselves accordingly in the workplace. You can bet that Wal-Mart is not alone in having this kind of program.