Amazon is ramping up its internal surveillance system to spy on workers, employing former intelligence and military agents and using invasive technology.
Amazon employs a team of intelligence professionals, it calls the ‘Advocacy Operations Social Media Listening Team,’ to monitor worker communications in closed Facebook groups and other private social media channels. The team compiles reports focused on workers’ attempts to organize–paying special attention to plans to strike/protest, interviews with journalists, and media coverage about conditions at Amazon.
Amazon’s worker surveillance stretches beyond social media. Amazon uses heat maps to gather information on Whole Food workers and scores which stores are likely to unionize. At their warehouses, Amazon employs AI to track worker physical movements and who workers speak with, as well as a Rate/TOT system to monitor worker fulfilment. The technology giant plans to enhance worker fulfillment surveillance with wristbands that track where employees place their hands and will “vibrate” to push their hands into a different direction as deemed necessary.
Amazon’s vast internal surveillance network is aided by the growing integration of ex-government agents into key positions of power. Amazon invited General Keith Alexander, the former head of National Security Agency (NSA) who oversaw the creation of the mass surveillance program that Edward Snowden blew the whistle on, to join Amazon’s board of directors. Additionally, Amazon posted job listings to hire Senior Intelligence Analysts to track and monitor worker “organizing threats,” grassroots led campaigns against Amazon, and “provide sophisticated analysis on these topics.”
Amazon is the second largest private employer in the country. They set standards that other employers follow. If we let them get away with these draconian surveillance practices, these kinds of measures will become common in every workplace.
Amazon views workers organizing for safer work conditions and greater benefits as a direct threat. They have already demonstrated they are willing to do whatever it takes to suppress workers. Congress needs to take immediate action.
Senators Sherrod Brown and Ron Wyden have already written a letter demanding Amazon put an end to the Advocacy Operations Social Media Listening Team and anti-worker, anti-union policies. But a letter is not enough.
We need Congress to pass legislation that permanently ends worker surveillance and makes it illegal for corporations like Amazon to create counter-intelligence programs to spy on workers.
Sign the petition: Tell Congress to pass legislation to stop corporations like Amazon from spying on workers.Not in the US?