Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Vic Used To "Wear The Blue Vest" But Now He's Just Big Mad And Utterly Helpless...,

trust |  I drove for Amazon from December 2019 until March of 2021, and I want to shed light on the work environment and the way the world's largest online retailer treats its employees. I want to show support for all the people I worked with and drove with, and with those who wear the blue vest across the nation. I support the driver walk-out on Easter Sunday. It's time to show Amazon that drivers are people who deserve better, and not machines who don't need a bathroom break!

When Vic started delivering packages for Amazon in 2019, he enjoyed it - the work was physical, he liked the autonomy, and it let him explore new neighborhoods in Denver, Colorado.

But Vic, who asked to be referred to by his first name for fear of retaliation, did not like the sensation that he was constantly under surveillance. 

At first, it was Amazon’s “Mentor” app that constantly monitored his driving, phone use and location, generating a score for bosses to evaluate his performance on the road.

“If we went over a bump, the phone would rattle, the Mentor app would log that I used the phone while driving, and boom, I’d get docked,” he said.

Then, Amazon started asking him to post “selfies” before each shift on Amazon Flex, another app he had to install. 

“I had already logged in with my keycard at the beginning of the shift, and now they want a photo? It was too much," he said.

The final indignity, he said, was Amazon's decision to install a four-lens, AI-powered camera in delivery vehicles that would record and analyse his face and body the entire shift. 

This month, Vic put in his two-week notice and quit, ahead of a March 23 deadline for all workers at his Denver dispatch location to sign release forms authorising Amazon to film them and collect and store their biometric information.

“It was both a privacy violation, and a breach of trust,” he said. “And I was not going to stand for it.”

The camera systems, made by U.S.-based firm Netradyne, are part of a nationwide effort by Amazon to address concerns over accidents involving its increasingly ubiquitous delivery vans.

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment, but has previously told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that access to the footage was limited, and video would only be uploaded after an unsafe driving incident was detected.

Albert Fox Cahn, who runs the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project - a privacy organisation - said the Amazon cameras were part of a worrying, new trend.

"As cameras get cheaper and artificial intelligence becomes more powerful, these invasive tracking systems are increasingly the norm," he said.