Senators query Amazon about cameras monitoring supply drivers

Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, pictured on Oct. 2, 2019.

Elif Ozturk | Anadolu Company | Getty Photos

5 senators are calling on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to offer extra info on the corporate’s latest deployment of “surveillance cameras” in autos utilized by contracted supply drivers.

In a letter Wednesday, Sens. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut requested for extra readability on Amazon’s use of footage collected by the cameras and the scope of their use, with a deadline for Bezos to reply by March 24.

The letter was in response to reporting by CNBC in February, which revealed that Amazon not too long ago started rolling out cameras from Netradyne in autos at a handful of contracted supply companions throughout the U.S. The cameras, which Amazon mentioned file drivers “100% of the time,” have 4 lenses that seize the highway, the motive force, and each side of the automobile. The cameras are outfitted with software program that is able to flagging a collection of security infractions, together with failure to cease at a cease signal, dashing and distracted driving.

In a coaching video distributed to supply companies, Amazon mentioned the cameras will assist enhance security throughout its supply community, however drivers and privateness advocates raised issues concerning the potential for heightened worker surveillance and an absence of privateness.

The senators referred to as on Bezos to handle these issues, including that the corporate’s use of surveillance cameras in supply vans “raises necessary privateness and employee oversight questions that Amazon should reply.”

“Whereas we applaud efforts to enhance security on the roads and reduce the plague of distracted driving, we want a greater understanding of how your organization will shield towards potential new security hazards stemming from elevated employee surveillance,” the senators wrote. “Though Amazon might intend for its use of Driveri cameras to enhance security on the highway, this surveillance may, in apply, create vital stress on drivers to hurry up on their routes, which might result in driver fatigue and decreased security.”

The Netradyne cameras are only one means that Amazon seeks to observe and monitor its supply service companion program, which refers back to the community of Amazon-branded cargo vans liable for a rising share of the corporate’s last-mile deliveries.

As CNBC previously reported, Amazon additionally requires contracted supply drivers to obtain and constantly run a smartphone app referred to as Mentor that screens their driving habits whereas they’re on the job. The app is designed to enhance driver security, however some supply drivers have described the app as invasive and raised issues that bugs inside the app can generally result in unfair disciplinary actions from their supervisor.

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