The number of working-age Americans who are not in the labor force is at an all-time high. Temp workers are a higher percentage of the workforce than they've been in more than a decade. In a tight environment like this, workers can't complain over a company spying on them, can they?

The workers must maintain their jobs at any cost, and the company must squeeze every last penny's worth of efficiency out of workers, and—thanks to the wonders of modern technology—these phenomena dovetail nicely into a sort of Workplace Panopticon. It's not just office workers any more, the Wall Street Journal reports. Now, blue collar workers are also being treated to workplace improvements that allow their bosses to keep track of every little god damn thing they're doing every god damn second. It ain't paranoia—it's productivity enhancement!

Blue-collar workers have always been kept on a tight leash, but there is a new level of surveillance available to bosses these days. Thanks to mobile devices and inexpensive monitoring software, managers can now know where workers are, eavesdrop on their phone calls, tell if a truck driver is wearing his seat belt and intervene if he is tailgating.

"Twenty-five years ago this was pipe dream stuff," said Paul Sangster, CEO of JouBeh Technologies, a Canadian company that develops tracking, or "telematics," technology for businesses. "Now it is commonly accepted that you are being tracked."

And, the story notes, only two of our 50 states require a company to tell you that it's spying on all your emails and texts and whatnot at work. The key takeaway, I guess, is: thanks to the wonders of modern technology and the wonders of our modern globalized economy, you no longer even necessarily get a "good," relatively well-compensated job to balance out the indignity of being spied upon all day. Now, everyone gets that! All are finally equal in the unblinking eye of the security camera.

Tracking microchips implanted in every individual McDonald's french fry TK.

[Photo: Flickr]