The standardization of labor surveillance?

The "new normal" implies, in some cases, the return to the office. For this reason, many employers have opted to deploy tracking technology to reduce the possibility of contagion in work environments. Amazon, for example, is testing a system that sends real-time warnings to workers to warn them that they are too close to each other, he said. Political. Similarly, Ford has tested with wristbands that keep track of contacts and generates buzzes due to the proximity between workers.

But, not surprisingly, this technology can have more uses than that of protecting the health of workers. In this sense, many privacy experts are concerned that the data collected by this technology can be used to assess the productivity of workers, identify those who have paused and are meeting or even warn that a worker left the office during Working hours. Obviously, the door would be opened to use this new information gathering system beyond the health emergency.

The development of these technologies has been driven by the interest of state and local governments to increase digital tools that allow them to identify the areas of greatest danger of contagion. However, its implementation has been delayed in view of the skepticism of many people who know the risks of government tracking. However, this scenario changes completely in the workplace.

Employers are free to order the use of these tracking devices in work settings. It will be up to the applicable labor law to determine if employers could be required to disclose whether they have installed monitoring programs on their workers' computers. Or even determine the legality of being able to fire one if he refuses to be tracked.

Could you track them after business hours? The most logical thing would be a resounding no. However, recent court decisions have cast doubt on this. The justification? Surveillance could be extended to 24 hours as long as the virus remains a threat.

The big problem is that all the changes that appear in response to the conditions of the moment, can be "normalized". In this way, employers could implement a new normal that involves an unprecedented increase in worker surveillance in work environments.

The Trump administration has not indicated how these technologies should be used in work environments, but what it has indicated is that, in addition to it, they can implement temperature controls and diagnostic tests, provided this is done generalized and not only directed to a specific group of workers. However, at a minimum, workers should be informed of the use of this technology and the storage of their data.



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Marilú Lazo
Lawyer from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP). Director of The Crypto Legal Blog, she has experience in corporate advice, consumer protection, as well as in matters of personal data protection and new technologies.


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