Amazon demands its drivers to submit Biometric surveillance

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 Amazon is well-known for using digital sensors to monitor and control the activity of its workers. The company does it in the name of efficiency. Earlier this year, it has installed machine learning-powered surveillance cameras in its delivery vans. However, Amazon took this surveillance job one step further recently, announcing its employees that either they agree to be surveilled by AI or lose their job.

 

Amazon’s installed cameras will collect biometric data from the vans. It seems the drivers have no choice but agree on it if they want to continue their employment.

 

A company called Netradyne first spoke about the roll-out of the AI-equipped camera systems inside Amazon’s delivery vehicles in February. According to the e-commerce giant, those cameras would provide drivers with real-time alerts, which in turn would help them stay safe when they were on the road.

 

How did the cameras work? 

 

In 2019, Netradyne made a presentation about its cameras with an analytics system. The company announced that they detect hard braking and acceleration, as well as driving speeds and following distance. However, it also added that it could use the same technology to detect when a driver was distracted by a phone or yawned.

 

The installation of the camera systems caused quite a stir. Several senators have written a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and asked for more information about their usage.

 

VICE stated on Wednesday that Amazon asked its delivery drivers across the country to sign a waiver that would allow the company to collect biometric information from these cameras.

 

The consent form says that the company may use certain technology that processes biometric information. That includes onboard safety camera technology. It can collect driver’s photographs for the purpose of confirming their identity, as well as connecting them to their driver account.

 

Using a person’s photograph, this technology could create biometric information, as it would collect and store biometric information from such photographs.

 

According to the agreement, Amazon plans to keep the biometric data only until verifying a driver’s identity. However, it also adds that the company may retain biometric data up to 30 days after it is generated.

 

Amazon spokesperson Deborah Bass claims that they only want to use the cameras to enhance their drivers’ safety and keep communities safe.

 

She stated that Amazon piloted the technology on over two million miles of delivery routes from April to October 2020. The results were remarkable, showing significant driver and community safety improvements. According to data, accidents decreased 48%, driving without a seatbelt decreased 60%, stop sign violations decreased 20%, and distracted driving decreased 45%.

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