Privacy Track: Amid Covid war, firms must ensure that no data of employees is recorded for a long time

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Published: June 18, 2020 5:35 AM

However, Amazon is not the only company that has turned to tech to enforce corona-safe behaviour among employees.

E-commerce giant Amazon though has taken corona-tracking to a different level altogether.E-commerce giant Amazon though has taken corona-tracking to a different level altogether.

With the lifting of the lockdown, and resumption of work, companies are having to focus on keeping Covid-19 transmission at bay, even as infections continue to rise. Temperature checks, facial scanners, etc, have become routine at the workplace to ensure better tracking. E-commerce giant Amazon though has taken corona-tracking to a different level altogether. In the US, the company is deploying AI at its warehouses to alert employees whenever they breach 6-feet distancing.

However, Amazon is not the only company that has turned to tech to enforce corona-safe behaviour among employees. Some companies are even using Bluetooth to track if employees have come into contact with each other.

Useful as such tech-aided tracking might be in the context of the pandemic, it also raises concerns over employee surveillance. Such technology enables the micromanagement of employees—how long was one away from their work-station, which employees enjoy a strong rapport, etc. More important, it creates a reservoir of data and patterns which employees may not be comfortable sharing. Such interventions are necessary, but should not come at the cost of employee privacy. That is why countries like India, seeing a proliferation of tech-solutions, require strong data protection and privacy laws. Technology will help in such a crisis, but actors—whether the state or private firms—must ensure that no data is recorded for a long time or that records are deleted after a month to bolster trust between employees and the company.

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