Amazon’s Big Friday Black Day for Worker Rights

Australia Institute

The Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible technology today called on Amazon to mark its global marketing day, Black Friday, by ditching patents to increase the surveillance of its workers.

According to an analysis by UNI Global, Amazon currently have patents on a range of technologies that will erode workplace privacy including:

  • Augmented reality headsets that track users’ on-site activities, including tracking conversations and worker interactions
  • Wearable bracelets monitoring the physical movements of workers
  • A tool to detect workers’ emotions, with the capacity for automated interventions if frustration is detected.

“While these technologies are still in development, the fact that Amazon sees value in them shows the path this global corporation is on when it comes to worker autonomy,” said Peter Lewis, director of the Australia Institute’s Centre for Responsible Technology.

“Already Amazon workers are among the world’s most monitored employees with real-time tracking of their movements and interactions. These developments would just take the employer control deeper into their lives.

“The Centre for Responsible Technology supports trade union calls for tighter workplace surveillance laws, which are currently under review from the NSW Upper House inquiry into the Future of Work.

“But while government regulation is important, we also encourage to consumers to think carefully about the online platforms they care to produce.

“If Amazon continues down its current path of created a surveillance workplace, all those who use its services need to consider the implications of these repressive workplace practices in their consumer decisions.”

See the UNI Global Report here – https://www.uniglobalunion.org/panopticon

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