Global accounting firm PwC has developed a facial recognition tool specifically for financial institutions to monitor employees working from home. 

The tool recognises the faces of its employees via their computer’s webcam, and requires them to provide a written reason for any unauthorised periods of time not in front of their screen. 

According to PwC, the technology is specifically designed to support and help financial institutions meet their compliance obligations required for traders and front office staff – who would normally be monitored, for security purposes, on trading floors. 

“Trading is highly regulated and there are strict requirements for traders in the workplace – for example secure trading floors without access to personal mobile phones,” said PwC in a statement. 

Subsequently, working remotely has resulted in a sudden shift in risk and requires additional controls and mitigations. 

However, the technology has raised privacy concerns among civil liberties groups who argue that the tool is a huge intrusion on privacy. 

CIPD’s head of research and thought leadership, Ed Houghton, said: “Subjecting workers to high levels of monitoring and surveillance should be avoided. Intrusive workplace surveillance damages trust, has a negative impact on morale and can create heightened stress and anxiety for workers.”