Walmart lied about their personal data access to the free phones given to workers

Last month Walmart touted a plan to provide 740,000 employees with free smart phones meant to be used at work, though workers are liable for phone plan costs and replacing it if the phone is lost, stolen, or damaged.

Walmart PR flacks pushed back on privacy concerns brought up in response to Walmart having access to phones thousands of workers will likely use for personal use.

I obtained internal Walmart documents provided to employees as part of Walmart’s Digital Tools Agreement every employee must sign before receiving the company issued phone or using a personal device for the Walmart apps used by employees. 

The documents outline possibilities of an employee receiving “a work-related call, text, email, or other communication on their Device outside of work time,” and encourages workers to only respond if either authorized by or if the communication comes from an authorized manager and to report the time worked or face disciplinary action up to and including termination.

By signing the agreement, an employee acknowledges “usage of all devices is subject to monitoring, collection, retention, imaging, and search as noted below, including any personal content that User may place on device. Walmart may access the device, including remotely through the Security app.”

A Walmart spokesperson told the New York Post and other media outlets last month in regards to the phones, “Walmart will not have access to any personal data,” which was a lie based on the agreement workers must sign.