Wal-Mart surveillance

Gabbard said that as part of the surveillance, the retailer infiltrated an anti-Wal-Mart group to determine if it planned protests at the company’s annual meeting last year and deployed monitoring systems to record the actions of anyone connected to its global computer network.

Wal-Mart has always had strict limits on what its employees can do while at work. Store employees are prohibited from using personal cell phones on the job. And managers receive a list of email addresses and phone numbers their employees have used as well as a list of Web sites visited, the paper said citing current and former employees.

The company also limits Internet access and blocks social-networking and video sites, according to Gabbard.


As part of the surveillance, the retailer last year had a long-haired employee infiltrate an anti-Wal-Mart group to determine if it planned protests at the company’s annual meeting, according to Bruce Gabbard, the fired security worker, the Journal said.


It is unclear whether the technician was able to sort Mr. Barbaro’s calls from those other Times reporters might have made to Wal-Mart since all calls from the newspaper’s New York office register on caller ID screens as a series of numeral 1s.

The focus of any criminal investigation might be on the text messages and the pages transmitted near company headquarters by people who were not Wal-Mart employees; the technician made those interceptions using his own personal radio-frequency equipment.

”He captured all of the text messages that were within a range of his equipment,” Ms. Williams said. ”Some of those messages had key words in them that he was watching for. Those were captured and put into a separate file or bucket from the others.” She declined to provide details of the messages or motives for those actions by the technician.


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