Amazon delivery drivers are being forced to sign “biometric consent” forms allowing their biometric data, location and movement to be tracked remotely.
In the latest escalation in the remote surveillance of its delivery drivers Amazon has sent forms to its staff this week requiring them to sign or face losing their jobs.
According to Motherboard, the “vehicle technology and biometric consent” agreement grants the retail giant permission to “collect, store, and use biometric information”.
The biometric information is understood to be in the form of a photo which will be taken by AI-powered cameras which Amazon installed in its vans last month, which it says it will use for the “purposes of confirming your identity and connecting you to your driver account”.
Drivers who sign the form are also consenting to allow Amazon to track their vehicles every move while working, including “miles driven, speed, acceleration, breaking, turns, and following distance”.
The new AI-powered video cameras, developed by Netradyne, are designed to improve safety for both drivers and pedestrians by providing drivers with warnings about issues like speeding and distracted driving.
They have reportedly been shown to reduce collisions by a third and improve driver behaviour, and are already being rolled out across Amazon’s delivery service partner programme (DPS) fleet.
Netradyne’s Driver(i) cameras use four lenses to capture the road, driver and both sides of the vehicle and can detect 16 different safety infractions.
According to an instructional video released by Amazon, the cameras will constantly record footage, but only upload footage when triggered by actions like hard braking, following vehicles too closely and driver drowsiness.
Despite Amazon’s assurance these devices are used to improve safety among its ever-expanding delivery fleet, their implementation has drawn concern from many privacy groups.
Amazon’s Deborah Bass told Charged not to “believe the self-interested critics who claim these cameras are intended for anything other than safety.”
She added: “Netradyne cameras are used to help keep drivers and the communities where we deliver safe. We piloted the technology from April to October 2020 on over two million miles of delivery routes and the results produced remarkable driver and community safety improvements—accidents decreased 48 percent, stop sign violations decreased 20 percent, driving without a seatbelt decreased 60 percent, and distracted driving decreased 45 percent.”
It also provided statements form two of its drivers, who said that “Netradyne provides an extra level of safety that wasn’t there before.”
“My human nature is to go fast, but the Netradyne alerts make me consciously think about ways to not do that.”