Traditionally, surveillance at work has been an issue largely for blue-collar workers, who are tracked and ranked depending on their ability to fulfill orders. Stories abound about Amazon setting unrealistic data-driven targets that don’t allow their staff to go to the bathroom. But the use of tech will make this an issue white-collar workers will also encounter.
“Will white-collar workers get the benefit of the doubt in being surveilled, or will they be getting close to what people in factory work have known for years?” asks Ajunwa.
She reckons it’s the latter. “That’s an interesting phenomenon because for so long white-collar workers have been resistant to unionizing because they feel they are more or less autonomous,” she says. “They see themselves as individual members. But the issue is that with increased surveillance, perhaps their work will be revealed to not be as autonomous as they think.”