HOW MUCH DOES your employer know about you? If you think them knowing your middle name is a little over-familiar, then you may not want to apply to any opening at Activision Blizzard which appears to creepily believe that there's no ‘TM' in ‘TMI'.
The Washington Post has a fascinating insight into the gaming giant's corporate culture which apparently involves incentivising the adoption of intrusive apps by employees. The main one of these is Ovia, which tells broody women when the best time to have sex is by tracking their menstrual cycles.
The report states that this is just the tip of the iceberg and that it has also experimented with tracking for mental health, sleep, diet, autism and cancer care.
Would you be happy with your employer having this data to hand in a file somewhere, even if it's anonymised? Well, would $1 per day change your mind? Yes, that's the size of gift card Activision gives staff who opt-in to share their data.
"Each time we introduced something, there was a bit of an outcry: ‘You're prying into our lives," Milt Ezzard, VP of global benefits told the Washington Post, suggesting the company was actually listening to feedback.
But clearly not listening that hard, as he continued: "But we slowly increased the sensitivity of stuff, and eventually people understood it's all voluntary, there's no gun to your head, and we're going to reward you if you choose to do it."
Voluntary but with a financial inducement, which makes it… paid? In any case it was enough to convince one employee who described the $1 per day bonus as "diaper and formula money."
It's good business sense for Activision because this $365 per year outlay is undercut by an average saving of $1,200 per employee in medical costs.
"People's sensitivity has gone from, ‘Hey, Activision Blizzard is Big Brother,' to, ‘Hey, Activision Blizzard really is bringing me tools that can help me out,'" Ezzard said.
We're not sure if Ezzard has read Nineteen Eighty-Four, the book where ‘Big Brother' comes from, but that quote broadly matches the trajectory Winston Smith goes on over the course of the novel, and - SPOILERS - things don't exactly end well for him. µ
Hype for HyperThreading
Hey kids, leave them iPhones alone
The Mac lady sings
Babel in yo ear