Amazon announced this week that it will introduce AI-based cameras in its branded delivery trucks to ensure safety, which has drawn criticism from privacy advocates and workers concerned about being monitored for work.
The world’s largest e-commerce company said that the camera developed by the transportation technology company Netradyne will improve the safety of drivers and their delivery communities.
But employees like Henry Search, a 22-year-old delivery driver in Washington State, said it was an “invasion of privacy” that they saw cameras capturing their workday.
Search told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a telephone interview: “We work here all day and we have tried our best.” “The camera is just another way to control us.”
Privacy advocates warned that equipping Amazon’s approximately 30,000 delivery vehicles with AI cameras could set a dangerous precedent for privacy protection.
Evan Greer, deputy director of the technology non-profit organization Fight for the Future, said: “This seems to be the largest expansion of corporate surveillance in human history.” “If this becomes the norm, we are talking about the extinction of human privacy. “
In the past, Amazon has reviewed accidents involving delivery drivers.
A company spokesperson said in an email comment: “This technology will provide drivers with real-time alerts to help them stay safe during the journey.”
In the video about the camera, Karolina Haraldsdottir, Amazon’s senior manager for last mile safety, said that the camera will record 100% of the time, but will not broadcast live from inside the truck.
She explained that they will detect unsafe driving, including when the driver appears distracted or drowsy, and added that the video can be used by the company’s security team or used in theft or accident investigations.
But Greer said that safety issues can be solved by slowing down the pace of work. She said: “The first thing they (Amazon) do to improve security is that they don’t have such a shocking shipping quota, so as not to put people in an unsafe situation.”
Another driver in Massachusetts asked not to use his name to protect his identity. He said that he would welcome the display of a camera outside the van to record evidence of any accident.
He said in a telephone interview: “But I always have a camera on my face, I can’t see how to ensure my safety-it’s too much.” Motor vehicles.
Haraldsdottir said that “only a limited set of authorized personnel” can access the camera’s driver lens.
But some drivers worry that Amazon may sell or share these lenses with third parties, or use cameras to monitor their performance at work.
A driver in Michigan, who asked not to be named, said: “The recorded footage can be shared with potential future employers, and they can even decide to reject you before they even know you.”
Although he likes to deliver for Amazon, he said he is currently looking for other jobs because he does not want to be monitored.
Rights activists say that Amazon has established an extensive surveillance system in its warehouses to track workers’ activities and increase productivity, which includes navigation software, item scanners, wristbands, thermal imaging cameras, and recording lenses.
Greer said: “There is currently no law that meaningfully restricts what Amazon can do with the lenses they collect.” He pointed out that other surveillance products (such as the doorbell camera system) can share lenses with police departments.
Dystopian Prime Minister
Surveillance experts say that the privacy impact of Amazon’s camera network on trucks extends far beyond drivers.
Andrew Ferguson, a law professor at the American University in Washington, DC, said that Amazon’s private surveillance network will further strengthen the government’s investigative powers.
He said: “Although the tendency to use artificial intelligence technology to improve the driver’s sense of safety is commendable, the failure to consider privacy, monitoring and rights issues is disturbing.”
Ferguson explained that although the police may not be able to access these videos directly, the authorities can access them during the investigation, thereby expanding the scope of police surveillance.
Last June, after criticizing the technology for exacerbating racial prejudice, Amazon announced that it would suspend the use of facial recognition software for a period of one year.
Ferguson said: “Amazon is actually building a mobile surveillance vehicle to photograph our community. If our government does this, we will be very shocked.” “I don’t think we want to join a dystopia.”
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