Amazon driver breaks AI surveillance of delivery vans

In 2021, Amazon has begun installing artificial intelligence cameras to monitor its delivery drivers as they work.

The e-commerce giant claims the technology is meant to prevent accidents.

The cameras record “100% of the time”, Amazon said CNBCwith four lenses that capture the road, driver, and side of the vehicle to flag 16 different safety violations including speeding, failure to stop at a stop sign, hard-breaking , or distracted driving.

But according to an Amazon worker, the AI ​​system can be used to dock the salary of drivers and is hated by everyone who works there.

‘If I want a sip of my coffee I have to pull over’

The driver, who goes by the username @ambergirits, took to TikTok to show off his company’s vehicle tracking system.

“That little guy is how we’re tracked,” Amber Girts said as she zoomed her camera into a rectangular contraption attached to her rearview mirror. “Maybe it’s recording me recording it, but it can’t hear me so that’s cool.”

He continued to break down the safety violations flagged by his employer’s device, such as when they went six miles over the speed limit.

And while many of the features are understandable, he complains about the lack of freedom of drivers due to constant vigilance.

For example, Girts says the number of times he buckles and unbuckles his seatbelt is tracked, and if he’s not buckled up enough then that’s a “seatbelt violation”.

Want to connect your phone to bluetooth? Not possible, because according to Girts, touching the central console of the van is a “distracted driver violation”.

Even drinking while driving, which is not illegal, is flagged by Amazon.

“When I want to take a sip of my coffee, I have to pull over to get it and drink it. Because if I do it while I’m driving then that’s a ‘driver distracted’ which is also a violation,” he added.

Girts says the cameras sometimes mistake human behavior, such as digging, as dangerous.

He admitted that “a guy scratched his beard, one time, and it was caught on camera that he was on the phone and so he got a distracted driving violation for scratching his face – but they contested it .”

“Everyone who works at Amazon kind of hates the little things but we have to remember that it’s just for safety,” he concluded.

Fortune reached out to Amazon to verify the claims.

Monitoring is a micromanaging measure

It’s not just Amazon workers who “hate” the company’s AI system.

Around 500,000 people have watched the TikTok video and thousands have taken to the comments section to voice their outrage.

Many viewers commented that the practice highlighted a lack of trust in the company, with one leading comment reading: “That’s too much micro-management.”

Another agreed: “Talk about having a boss breathing over your shoulder”.

Some viewers commented that they would never work for a company with such measures in place, while others questioned whether there were ulterior motives to the safety measures, such as cheaper insurance rates. .

Even an Amazon warehouse worker chimed in saying: “I thank my lucky stars every day I don’t drive for them.”

Meanwhile, one user suggested that in many scenarios that could result in a breach, they “just fail without knowing what I did wrong” – and Girt replied that “this happens in reality” .

According to The information, too many safety violations can lead to a driver being fired from the company.

This is not the first time the monitoring measures have been criticized, with privacy activists previously describing them as “dreadful”, “intrusive” and “excessive”.

Big Brother Watch (unsuccessfully) called for installations to be stopped in the UK by 2022, a year after it was already rolled out in the US.

“Amazon has a terrible track record of grossly monitoring their lowest paid employees using Orwellian, often inaccurate, surveillance technologies, and then using that data to their disadvantage,” Silkie Carlo , director of the UK-based privacy campaign group, told The Telegraph.

“This kind of direct surveillance can be dangerously distracting to drivers, especially demoralizing. It’s bad for workers’ rights and terrible for privacy.”

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