HANNOVER MESSE 2019, 01 - 05 April
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Industrie 4.0

Assistance systems can lead to more surveillance

While new digital technologies can alleviate the workload, they can also facilitate electronic monitoring of work performance. The German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) has looked into the issue.

08 Nov. 2018
Assistance systems can lead to more surveillance (Photo: Deutsche Messe AG)

For their investigation , the scientists evaluated 96 studies in an attempt to identify possible surveillance effects and consequences. It turned out that effects show up in, for example, the stress level or work performance of employees. Employees often assume that surveillance aims to control their actions – and surveillance is thus seen as a sign of mistrust. One the conclusions an analysis of the studies allows is that open and transparent communication is important when new electronic systems that can also be used to monitor employees are introduced. The systems should also be transparent and predictable.

The German Engineering Federation ( VDMA ) published a guideline back in 2016 that outlines the special features of handling personal data in Industry 4.0 companies. It also mentions the consequences of a failure to comply: for example, with the entry into force of the European General Data Protection Regulation (DSGVO), fines of up to € 20 million can be levied for infringements.