Amazon sends thousands of US drivers biometric monitoring consent forms, says sign it or lose job

amazon biometric facial recognition

Drivers for Amazon across the United States are being given consent forms to be monitored with face biometrics within their delivery trucks, and told they must sign them or lose their jobs, according to Vice Motherboard.

The biometric data collection consent forms have been sent to approximately 75,000 drivers. Images collected by the “on-board safety camera” will confirm the driver’s identity, and the ecommerce giant will also collect vehicle location and movement data.

The deployment of the cameras from fleet management technology provider Netradyne was announced by Amazon in February. The software running on the cameras can detect distracted or drowsy driving.

Amazon began using biometrics to secure the contracts of independent drivers with its Flex program in 2019.

The drivers are not Amazon employees, but are technically employed by one of around 800 companies that partner with it to deliver packages from its warehouses, but Amazon controls many aspects of driver working conditions, Motherboard reports.

An owner of one of the partner companies told Motherboard an employee had quit over the biometric tracking measure.

“It’s a heart-breaking conversation when someone tells you that you’re their favorite person they have ever worked for, but Amazon just micromanages them too much,” the business owner said.

“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,” Amazon Spokesperson Deborah Bass told CNET. “Don’t believe the self-interested critics who claim these cameras are intended for anything other than safety.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation said the threat of job termination makes consent meaningless.

Five senators wrote a letter to Amazon last month raising concerns about the program, asking for a response by March 24.

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