This report finds that workers experience speedups, employment insecurity, a shifting of risks and costs from employers to workers, and an exacerbation of racial profiling and bias. This results in a power imbalance wherein workers have little insight into how they’re tracked or how their data is used, making it difficult to voice concerns.
The author speaks with workers, labor unions, worker rights organisations, privacy scholars, and privacy rights organisations to both record new challenges to workers from increased surveillance, and to contextualise these within a long history of racial capitalism.
The report argues that policy-makers must build robust data protections that empower workers, not just consumers, and also broaden their understanding of algorithmic harms beyond bias and discrimination. Effective worker data protection and privacy can enable workers to advocate for more rights in the workplace, including protections against exploitation, wage theft, arbitrary and aggressive disciplinary action, retaliation, and discriminatory and biased practices.