Amazon is putting AI-powered cameras in more delivery vans in a move that privacy activists called “creepy”, “intrusive” and “excessive” after rolling them out in the US last year, The Telegraph reported.
The cameras monitor how drivers in the UK perform on the road and issue voice alerts if they speed or brake sharply and will score drivers accordingly.
Two cameras are being installed on Amazon vans in Britain, one facing the driver and the other aimed at the road.
Big Brother Watch called for the installations to be put on hold, The Telegraph reported.
Silkie Carlo, director of the UK-based privacy campaign group, said: “Amazon has a terrible track record of intensely monitoring their lowest wage earners using Orwellian, often highly inaccurate, spying technologies, and then using that data to their disadvantage.”
“This kind of directed surveillance could actually risk distracting drivers, let alone demoralising them. It is bad for workers’ rights and awful for privacy,” Carlo added.
Amazon rolled out its AI cameras in the US last year and used them to decide drivers’ pay and whether to keep them on.
It created a points-based system to detect when drivers had their eyes off the road, were tailgating or even sneezing, confidential documents obtained by The Information showed.
The launch of Amazon’s surveillance tool to monitor drivers prompted at least one to resign, according to a Thomson Reuters Foundation report. The e-commerce giant also came under fire last year when more than 200 workers signed a petition calling for it to end its “labor surveillance”.
The cameras provide real-time alerts to improve safety, an Amazon spokesperson previously told Insider, and said accidents decreased by 48%, stop sign violations fell by a fifth, with the number of drivers not using seatbelts cut by 60%.
“The purpose of introducing this technology is to keep drivers and communities safe, there is no other reason behind that. We have carried out a comprehensive data privacy assessment in line with applicable laws,” an Amazon spokesperson told The Telegraph.
Amazon did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.