Amazon is poised to take employee surveillance to a whole new level of dystopian surveillance.
The retail giant will ask delivery drivers in the United States this week to sign a “biometric consent” form or lose their jobs, Vice reports.
The form allows the company to use AI-powered cameras in its vans to monitor driver locations, movements and biometric data.
The company has already started deploying the system, made by tech company Netradyne, to its fleet of vehicles. Cameras can monitor a driver’s body movements, deduce when he is distracted and even spot when he yawns.
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Amazon says system will keep drivers safe on the road, but privacy advocates have called it “The biggest expansion of corporate surveillance in human history.
The consent form states that Amazon may use driver photos to create, store, and use biometric information. He adds that the system “tracks the location and movement of vehicles … as a condition of parcel delivery for Amazon, you consent to the use of the technology.”
Vice reports that some drivers refuse to sign the forms. But Ray Walsh, a digital privacy expert at ProPrivacy, said many of them will have little choice but to agree to the terms:
A large number of Amazon drivers depend on their job pay on a monthly basis, and they don’t have the luxury of deciding to quit to avoid being tracked with AI by Amazon. As a result, many employees are forced to accept this surveillance against their will.
Those who sign the forms will consent to highly intrusive surveillance that could affect their behavior while they are working.
Walsh added that any errors detected by the system could be used to prosecute drivers:
There is a real danger that Amazon will create a no-win situation where it demands so much of its drivers to keep their jobs, that they end up breaking the rules that ultimately put them in trouble with their employer and the law, and it’s all filmed for the company.
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Published March 24, 2021 – 17:35 UTC