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Friday, October 22, 2021

Qatar developer signs contract for new ‘worker locationing’ technology

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

A Qatar-based company has spent $2.5 million on technology that would help track the construction workers who will live in its new housing projects.

The deal, made earlier this month between Daruna Development and California firm Sysorex, was described in a statement put out by the companies:

“The solution includes networking the community with more than 1,000 of Sysorex’s AirPatrol sensors to provide location-based services and security as well as insight into how residents flow through the community, which facilities are most popular, and where improvements can be made.”

Daruna neighborhood rendering
Daruna neighborhood rendering

Daruna is expected to begin construction on a 6,000-bed labor camp in Wukair this year.

According to its website, it’s also planning worker housing developments in Al Khor, Mukaynis and Al Shanahiya.

Each of these projects will incorporate the AirPatrol platform, Daniel Pilmore, managing director of Sysorex’s Networked Solutions department, said.

He continued:

“The ability of Sysorex’s products to provide not just real time locationing and asset management, but also big data analysis for the entire community is a key enabler for NSL improving and building on our current integrated accommodation management offering. This in turn has a direct impact on improving the experience of expatriate workers in Qatar.”

How it works

Speaking to nonprofit publication Next City, Sysorex CEO Nadir Ali said that little blue boxes would be set up around each housing project, that would be capable of picking up Wifi, RFID or Bluetooth signals from any device.

AirPatrol device
AirPatrol device

Residents’ movements would then be tracked within “a three- to six-foot accuracy” via their mobile phones and WiFi-enabled “smart tags” that the men would carry with them to buy food and pay for health services, the publication stated.

The sensors do not read emails or listen to phone calls.

According to Ali, AirPatrol has many safety benefits:

“Say there’s a disaster – how many folks are there? Or some sort of riot going on, our technology shows where people are and helps to manage those types of situations.”

Concerns

However, the technology has already sparked some concerns from rights groups.

Nicholas McGeehan, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, told NextCity:

“Passport confiscation, recruitment fees, sponsorship-based employment, the prohibition of trade unions, and absence of grievance mechanisms combine to a toxic effect in Qatar. The last thing we need is yet another control mechanism.”

And speaking to Doha News, Mustafa Qadri of Amnesty International said:

“The new technology may have some positive uses, but the Qatari authorities, Daruna and the developers must ensure its application respects the rights of migrant workers, particularly the rights to privacy and freedom of movement, and does not enable businesses to tighten existing conditions of forced labour.”

He added that technology used to tracker worker movements could be abused given Qatar’s current labor landscape, which lacks rights protections.

Thoughts?

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Shabzed
Shabzed
6 years ago

US State Department says Qatar failed to combat human trafficking…
US firms makes deal with Qatar to track the workers… Yeah!! US you are a true champion of human rights. #Salute

Joe
Joe
6 years ago
Reply to  Shabzed

The USA wrote the book on S L A V E R Y ……

QATAR is following the OLD book on S L A V E R Y ! ! ! …YEAH CELEBRATION for humanity !!

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago
Reply to  Joe

Slavery has existed since the dawn of humanity and U.S. slavery would merit only a few pages in a comprehensive book.

The U.S. and its territories accounted for less than 10 percent of the total number of African slaves in the New World. The slave ships were owned mostly by Europeans and the African rules gathered and sold the slaves. By contrast, Brazil accounted for about 40 percent and ended slavery decades after the U.S. The reason most people associate slavery primarily with the U.S. is because of all of the movies and comparatively visible and vocal African-American community.

The U.S. can be blamed for a lot of things, but human slavery is not one of them.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Joe

Slavery was relatively recent in the U.S. The ME had been praticing it for thousands of years, even prophet Mohd was a slave owner and trader and the taking of slaves was seen as right of the Muslim contests

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago
Reply to  Shabzed

Human trafficking is all about profit-making. Ironically, some of the countries actually manufacturing this stuff are the various countries from which these workers will come.

Red_Panigale
Red_Panigale
6 years ago
Reply to  Shabzed

Typical blame it on the US mentality. If a US company did not sell them this technology, a Canadian, British, French, Indian or Japanese firm would have. Blame it on the people who want to live out their little slave master fetish. Not people who are better than you at making technology.

Misha
Misha
6 years ago
Reply to  Red_Panigale

Why don’t you go to their website and see which country’s former ambassador is on the board.

Red_Panigale
Red_Panigale
6 years ago
Reply to  Misha

So? There are people of multiple nationalities on the board and even more will be in management positions. Point still stands.

Stop making excuses and improve yourselves if you want the world to take you seriously.

Misha
Misha
6 years ago
Reply to  Red_Panigale

I’m not making excuses. Or blaming a whole country for the stupid actions of a company which was my point here. I point out where the top management are from and ofcourse you brush it off. If all the management were Qatari then you would be blaming them, the whole country and it’s citizens.

Ofcourse the Qatari in charge approved it and made the decision. He is responsible for final decisions. However, it is possible (key word possible as I can’t assume like others do on these threads) that the details of the tracking system was chosen by management and presented for approval. They could have had other cheaper systems like “sign in at the door”, electronic card at the door or even fingerprint at the door like some workplaces have here.

I find it hard to believe that the rest of management wouldn’t have tried to argue for a better system at least noting how much cheaper it would be. What it seems like (and again this is just a possibilty) that someone suggested this Californian company and this method for a reason. I think everyone involved in the decision making is to blame.

And regarding “improving yourselves”, I don’t have to improve myself anymore than an American citizen does for Walmart’s actions to its employees.

Red_Panigale
Red_Panigale
6 years ago
Reply to  Misha

Of course I brush it off. Pointing out where the management was from is about use useful as pointing out where the janitor working at the company is from. You have to hold the guy who makes the final decision responsible. The management could suggest chaining their workers down but the CEO/leader of the organization must make sure that these ideas don’t go through. If they do go through, it is solely his fault because he has the power to stop such things from happening.

Just this basic premise makes the rest of your comment useless. Please come up with a better argument next time rather than just pointing at the US. You people approved the use of this technology. You are responsible. End of story.

And as for the improving yourselves part, it was a figure of speech and not directed at a personal level but at a national one. If you people want to be taken seriously around the world, you need to make sure actions like these are denounced. Until then you will be seen as approving of slavery.

Misha
Misha
6 years ago
Reply to  Red_Panigale

I’m not blaming the US, I am pointing out that this decision gets blamed on all Qataris yet no one bats an eye when most of the management are from abroad and had a hand in making this decision.

I said that the CEO is responsible because he makes the final decisions but that doesn’t mean he is the only one who is responsible. Your janitor comment is a sorry attempt to provide a justification that doesn’t even make sense. We are talking about decision makers and in most companies many decisions are made until it goes to the CEO.

If the CEO is soley responsible as you claim, why are others in addition to the CEO investigated and tried when their is fraud, a scandal or other illegal activities in companies world wide?

Why don’t you apply for a job with the company then because as long as you aren’t the CEO, you will have a clear conscious and be happy there.

Red_Panigale
Red_Panigale
6 years ago
Reply to  Misha

Also, you’re comparing fraud to regular company operations? You’re seriously coming up with the most creative excuses I have read yet. Blame everyone but the guy who took the actual decision. Genius.

A Qatari company took the decision to allow tracking workers like animals. Qatar will get blamed. Pointing out the where the management or what they had for dinner does not change anything.

You allowed this, you will get ridiculed for it. Simple.

Edit: I just cant get over the sheer genius of this statement

“I said that the CEO is responsible because he makes the final decisions but that doesn’t mean he is the only one who is responsible.”

Keyword is right there in your own comment. FINAL.

Red_Panigale
Red_Panigale
6 years ago
Reply to  Misha

Also, I love how you are trying to over-complicate a simple issue. A Qatari company with a Qatari CEO is plans to track their workers like animals. Yet somehow you manage to bring the US into it.

This is almost as hilarious as blaming McDonald’s for making you fat.

Michkey
Michkey
6 years ago

Why don’t they just put a chip under their skin!

taurz
taurz
6 years ago
Reply to  Michkey

….and make the Labors pay for the chip as well. That would save them the 2.2 million also……

DT
DT
6 years ago
Reply to  taurz

best comment at the end. make them pay for it – and hold their passports until they pay! SSDD

jliscorpio
jliscorpio
6 years ago

Maybe they can put a mark on their forehead or on their hand? Something with oh, say three numbers?

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago
Reply to  jliscorpio

Tattoos would be even better . . . They could receive a unique number upon their arrival in the worker camp (perhaps on their forearm), and the tattoo could remind them of that happy time for as long as they live.

Michael L
Michael L
6 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

Or perhaps a particular symbol associated with their religion or ethnic origin ? then the company would be able analyse in greater depth ?

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael L

Excellent point. They’ll need a snappy slogan to go with it. How about “Arbeit macht frei” to give it a sophisticated Euro-language feel? Perhaps they could post it at the entrances of the worker living quarters to help publicize it.

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

Yellow stars, (obviously yellow so they can be seen at night to avoid getting hit by cars) would be available for them to wear. Maybe Hugo Boss could do the design…..

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Excellent point for the safety-conscious. But it couldn’t just be any regular star. It would need to be unique in order to signify that the worker is part of a special group. How about one with six points rather than the usual five? You don’t see those very often on clothing, and it would also show the Israelis that they cannot claim a monopoly over the star design.

To further demonstrate the peaceful and cosmopolitan intentions of the program, perhaps the program’s managers and area security guards could adopt the Buddhist symbol for eternity (also widely recognized as an important symbol in a number of other world religions and cultures). They could even wear it on their clothing as armbands. I’d suggest black lettering on a red background so it’s really visible.

Observer
Observer
6 years ago

This is hilarious! There is a business culture in Qatar that promoted treating foreign human labor just like machinery. It seems to be accepted in the private and public sector. The disappointing thing is that there is a trend of increasing restrictions and unless things change Qatar’s reputation as a “slavery” state will only be more prominent. I really hope that doesn’t happen.

Gaga
Gaga
6 years ago

MANIPULATION. That’s the exact word to describe this Qatar’s own type of modern slavery. Indeed an addition to world-renowned Qatari “traditions”.

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago

Why would they waste 2.5 million dollars on such a project? is it not cheaper and easier to make a survey and ask their staff which part of the camp is the most popular? And if a riot happens, call the police! Why would you monitor anything? This is not your job!
I think it is time to sack the managers of the company and whoever approved this project. It is just a huge waste of money.

Gaga
Gaga
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

They have $2.2M for this soon-to-be white elephant project but they have no budget for wage increase, expediting roads and infrastructures and tourism investments. “Qatari tradition” at its finesse.

Phoe
Phoe
6 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Do you really believe that they’re doing it to see which parts of the camp are more popular??

Yacine
Yacine
6 years ago
Reply to  Phoe

I am just challenging their own version. I clearly have serious doubts about this argument.

Shaiju
6 years ago

does the word “Daruna” stands for prisons?

Raven
Raven
6 years ago

Insane. Aren’t the labors under too much “control” already? And now they will be tracked. For God’s sake, give those guys a break.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
6 years ago

Aren’t the tags they use to track wild animals cheaper? They could tag each worker as he or she comes through the airport and then just a have central center to track all of them. If they want something more discreet, the microchip implants used for domestic pets could work, too. As the workers leave the country at their end of service, the tags could be recycled (a green initiative!).

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

George Orwell would have been really upset that he didn’t think of this first.

SokhnaFan2010
SokhnaFan2010
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

Reminds me of the Apple Ad in 84………..https://youtu.be/VtvjbmoDx-I Replacing Apple with Sysorex…….

Student
Student
6 years ago

You couldn’t make this up. Why not just send them to vet and have them microchipped?

Michael L
Michael L
6 years ago
Reply to  Student

Please don’t give them ideas !

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Is this a joke? I’m sorry this is a new low for Qatar.

procan
procan
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Mimh, it’s a small wonder that when North Americans and EU persons, read the goings ons that occur in Qatar – the riches place in the World, many just shake their heads and wonder is there no limit to this society’s inhumanity toward 1 million + labourers. It’s so sad to observe . I will continue to monitor and share with my peeps who now make their own observation on the Middle East scence and share our collective thoughts. Thanks DN for the window on Qatar . Cheers.

Blue
Blue
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

This may have come out from good intentions – our HSSE guys wished to track our physical assets, perhaps one bright spark would have stated that our human capital are our assets as well……

…….This technology coming to a tower block in west bay soon 🙂

Michael L
Michael L
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

How many more times are we going to use that phrase ?

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Michael L

I don’t know. When this came up what were they thinking?? Surely someone should have said, “look guys with all the bad publicity regarding the WC and the treatment of workers the last thing we want to be seen doing is treating them like animals in a zoo”

taurz
taurz
6 years ago

If this was such a good technology and if it helps them to know how well each facility is used, why don’t they first use it on their own citizens so they could serve them so much better.

Or is it something that is required to serve (read “control”) only the labor population?

Misha
Misha
6 years ago
Reply to  taurz

Own citizens? As far as I know this company isn’t a government company.
So what “own citizens” are you talking about? Maybe management’s? Then that would mean one Qatari, 7 Westerners and possibly one asian.

Rashed Alkobesi
Rashed Alkobesi
6 years ago

usually this type of monitoring is for the most hazardous areas such as oil rigs and mainly used for evacuation purposes. it should be RFID not battery operated.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago

Slavers reach a new low.

Bajn
Bajn
6 years ago

American prison-industry expanding to emerging markets 🙂 Effects of unfettered capitalism.

DEEM
DEEM
6 years ago

Aww c’mon…. Don’t be naive. You think they don’t do this already? Similar systems are in place in hospitals all over the world…. Ostensibly to ensure babies aren’t stolen from neonatal units, but they use it for all sorts. And considering your car…. Owned or leased or hired is tied to your RP….. Your phone is tied to your RP…. Every place you visit, every rial you spend can be tracked. – trust me, if they need to find you, they can pinpoint your location to within a few meters in a matter of hours. This is not unique to Qatar by they way. You think all these hi tech tools they use in American cop shows are made up?

And just wait till you see what they have planned for fans visiting during the World Cup!!!!! LOL

Big Brother is alive and well, and has been for decades now. Live with it.

Misha
Misha
6 years ago
Reply to  DEEM

It’s one thing for the government to track and another thing when your company does. Will the laborers they have a system in place to track them? I doubt it.

Misha
Misha
6 years ago

Most forms of control always start off under the guise of safety. It’s a shame that this company decided to do this because the pics of the future facilities (on their website) looks quite nice. I’m also surprised that they decided to announce this to the press, did they expect an applause?

I also wonder if the management (7 out of 9 being westerners and one being a former ambassador) genuinely think this is a good idea or does a high salary quiet their conscious?

MarkDoha
MarkDoha
6 years ago

Electronic tagging and tracking of humans, oh dear. What amazes me is that the company sent out a press release thinking that this was a good thing and that it would reflect positively of them and the image of Qatar. If you’re going to pull a stunt like this, then please keep quiet about it. Yet another public relations own goal.

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