Big Brother was so 1984. Now in 2019, it’s all about Big Blizzard.
Read this report over at Games Industry based on a new WAPO article and tell us if it doesn’t set off all kinds of alarms in your head. It turns out that Activision Blizzard is in the business of being as intrusive as possible in its employee’s lives for the purpose of keeping health costs down and increasing productivity.
The company — and we are not making this up — bribes its female employees with gift cards to install and use Ovia, an app that tracks their reproductive activity. And yes, this includes when they have sex, details about their pregnancy, moods, and even “the appearance of their cervical fluid.” The company then pays Ovia for “anonymized, aggregated” data covering users under its roof. This is only part of an ongoing trend of ways that Activision Blizzard is attempting to track the health of its employees.
But Activision Blizzard VP of Global Benefits Milt Ezzard says that everyone’s cool with it: “Each time we introduced something, there was a bit of an outcry: ‘You’re prying into our lives.’ 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.”
Truly, Ezzard is a font of genuine concern… for the bottom line: “I want them to have a healthy baby because it’s great for our business experience. Rather than having a baby who’s in the neonatal ICU, where she’s not able to focus much on work.”
Of course, employees who engage in this program have another issue to consider, which is the possibility that their information might get hacked from Ovia or sold without permission — something that occurred with similar apps Flo and Glow over the past year.