COVID19 Trackers

We have set up three trackers to monitor issues of rights, surveillance, and social protection

Tracking Worker Surveillance (COVID19 and before)

The ongoing COVID19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown and social distancing measures have forced workers into new ways of working. This has been accompanied by increased surveillance over workers. Employers have used the risk of a highly contagious virus and increased remote working to justify increasingly invasive worker monitoring and tracking technologies on employees. While most of these technologies predate Covid-19 and have been in use by companies for the last few years, their adoption has increased since the outbreak, raising pertinent questions around worker privacy, autonomy, and agency. The adoption of workers surveillance technologies affects both blue and white collar workers but as with other inequities, blue collar workers are likely to feel the impact more strongly. We have been keeping track of worker surveillance technologies that are being introduced to workplaces, its relation to the Covid-19 response and its impact on worker wellbeing. As the pandemic wears on, it is likely that it will be used as justification for extraordinary measures that adversely impact workers.

COVID19 Tech Tools for Public Health in India

There has been an avalanche of apps and technology tools across the world in response to coronavirus pandemic. India, too has focused efforts on tech solutions that have zeroed in on not only automating contact tracing but various types of tech to aid in the state efforts to fight covid-19. While these tech solutions have received a huge amount of media attention, there are numerous concerns such as misidentification, violations of data protection and privacy rights and surveillance that arise. In an attempt to draw attention to the plethora of tech tools in addition to the widely known surveillance based contact tracing apps, this datasheet provides a rapid review of the different tech tools being deployed to supplement and augment the public health response to the COVID19 in India.

COVID19 & Social Protection for Gig Workers

The ongoing COVID crisis is likely to exacerbate the precarity of gig workers. Most only get paid per assignment and gigging with a platform does not allow them any of the social protection measures that might come with formal employment, such as sick leave or health insurance. Now, with COVID, many gig workers are without regular sources of income, nor any clarity on when work might resume. Others, continue to provide essential services during this crisis, risking their health and safety. It is critical that platforms assume certain responsibilities or obligations towards the wellbeing and protection of gig workers.

With this tracker, we at Tandem Research are documenting the various social protection measures offered by platforms as well progress on implementation, in India and globally.



Authors

Urvashi Aneja

Urvashi Aneja is Founding Director of Tandem Research. She works on the governance and sociology of emerging technology; southern partnerships for humanitarian and development assistance; and the power and politics of global civil society. Urvashi is also Associate Fellow at Chatham House and a columnist for the Indian Express. She has a PhD from the Department of Politics & International Relations, University of Oxford. Previously, she was Associate Professor of International Relations at the OP Jindal Global University and Research Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation.

Zothan Mawii

Zothan Mawii is Research Fellow at Tandem Research. Her current work focuses on the impact of digital technologies on labour markets in the global south and the intersection between gender and emerging technologies. She has been studying the impact of digital labour platforms in emerging economies, conducting extensive field work in India, South Africa, and Myanmar. Key to her research are questions around changing employment relations and the nature of work, worker well-being, and worker rights in technology mediated work. Her research interests include digital labour, online social movements, the care economy, feminist perspectives on technology, and internet rights. She has previously worked on issues around internet shutdowns and online violence against women. She holds a MA in Digital Culture and Society from King's College London and a BA (Hons) in English from St. Stephen's College, DU.

Angelina Chamuah

Angelina Chamuah is a Research Fellow at Tandem Research. Her current work is focused on understanding regulatory frameworks for emerging technologies in India.She is interested in studying the development of emerging technologies and the complex entanglements between technology and society. Her M.Phil. research is centered on human-machine interactions in the context of social robotics and engages with questions of design and agency in the building of affective relationalities between humans and social robots. She has an M.A and M.Phil. in Sociology from Delhi School of Economics and a B.A (H) in Sociology from Miranda House, New Delhi.

Harsh Ghildiyal

Harsh Ghildiyal is a Research Associate at Tandem Research. He currently works on research across the technology and society vertical. Harsh is interested in understanding the social implications of technology, consequent regulatory responses, and working towards an equitable technological future. Before joining Tandem Research, he was a Teach for India fellow. He has a B.A., LL.B. (Hons.) degree from Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Visakhapatnam.

Joanne D'Cunha

Joanne D'Cunha is a law graduate from Symbiosis Law School with a Masters in Information Technology and Intellectual Property Rights from the University of Sussex, United Kingdom. She has worked on legal and policy aspects of free speech, surveillance, data protection, net neutrality, and intermediary liability. She currently is a Research Associate at Tandem working in the AI and Society program.

Iona Eckstein

Iona Eckstein works on the Future of Work programme at Tandem Research. Her work focuses on how platforms economies are impacting labour markets and the experience of gig workers in India. She is also interested in feminist perspectives on the future of work and how women can benefit from technological advances. She has conducted fieldwork in Nepal, Tanzania and Denmark and has a B.Sc in Sociology from the University of Bristol, and an M.Sc in Global Development from the University of Copenhagen.