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