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The Shocking Truth About Employee Surveillance Technologies

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The Shocking Truth About Employee Surveillance Technologies

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How military AI is helping companies crack down on unions: The shocking truth about employee surveillance technology

Government and military surveillance methods are now available to leaders of private organizations.

If employees think that no one is watching their work, we will say that employers in the US can use military AI to keep track of their employees.

Over the past 10 years, dozens of companies have emerged that sell subscriptions to US firms for OSINT (open source intelligence), “reputation management” and “internal threat assessment” services. These tools are made by defense contractors for reconnaissance. However, with the development of deep learning and new data sources, such tools have become much better. Now any boss can analyze the data and find trade unionists, whistleblowers and critics.

It’s no secret that companies like Amazon are watching unions. But few people are aware of how common and dangerous tools for employee tracking are. If they are as powerful as the manufacturers claim, there should be a discussion about whether to give informational weapons into private hands. Military AI was made to deal with external enemies under the control of democratic governments with protection from abuse. We should be concerned that the same systems could now be bought by any private company.

For example, one anti-terrorism startup that sold its services to the military now offers its tools to corporations and the police, which can collect and analyze all data from the Internet, including user posts on social networks.

The company’s tool doesn’t just count keywords, it can identify connections between people, read text in pictures, and even find objects, emotions, and concepts in multimedia. What’s more, a tool billed as “supply chain risk management” can predict strikes.

Network analysis tools that were made to identify terrorists can now be used to identify union leaders and fire them before they form a union. These tools can also prevent such people from being hired. And risk assessment strategies that were conceived to prevent attacks can now influence investments, such as avoiding regions and suppliers with high unionization potential.

Not the fact that such tools work as they promise. For example, these tools can put a user at risk simply because they follow a particular page or account.

The capabilities of such systems are growing rapidly. Companies say they will soon add next-generation AI technology to their surveillance tools. Manufacturers promise to make researching data easier with hints. But their real goal is to create a routine, semi-automated union surveillance system.

Such a surveillance industry is incompatible with democracy. Companies that use such tools must disclose it publicly so that laws can be applied to them. We also need new rules. Last year, the National Labor Relations Board announced that it wanted to ban “intrusive” and “abusive” surveillance of employees.

In addition, workers and unions should participate in legislative hearings on the regulation of AI and surveillance in the workplace. People need specific rules that say what uses of AI, data and methods are allowed and under what conditions they can be used.

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