According to reports from multiple news outlets, retail giant Amazon plans on installing biometrically-enabled cameras in the vehicles of third-party delivery drivers and requiring the drivers to consent to having their biometric data recorded and stored as a condition for delivering Amazon packages.
Vice reported earlier this week that it received screenshots of the consent form drivers are required to sign if they wish to continue working for Amazon. The form outlines how the drivers’ biometric information will be recorded to verify their identity, and cameras in the vehicles will also monitor drivers’ location, movement, speed, acceleration, braking, turns, and following distance.
Through spokesperson Deborah Bass, Amazon stresses that the measures are being enacted strictly for safety purposes.
“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,” Bass said. “Don’t believe the self-interested critics who claim these cameras are intended for anything other than safety.”
There are, however, concerns over the violation of the privacy rights of the individuals being forced to consent to this program under penalty of losing their job.
“When a company says to its staff, ‘Give us your biometrics or you’re fired,’ that’s not consent,” said Adam Schwartz, a staff attorney with civil liberties advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation . “We are disappointed by reports that Amazon is coercing its drivers, on threat of termination, to submit to faceprinting.”
The abuse of facial recognition technology by both public and private institutions has been an issue of growing concern over the past several years, with a number of high profile cases finding their way into the mainstream media. Amazon itself has been on the receiving end of a lawsuit — along with many other high profile companies — for violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).
Sources: Business Insider, Cnet, Vice
March 25, 2021 – by Tony Bitzionis