An increasing number of companies are selling employer subscriptions to services such as “reputation management” and “internal threat assessment” originally developed by defense contractors for intelligence purposes. Powered by advanced data analytics and deep learning, these tools allow employers to monitor work organization, identify internal leaks and silence critics.
While it’s no secret that companies like Amazon are monitoring unionization efforts, the expansion and normalization of employee monitoring tools has largely gone unnoticed. These tools, rooted in military AI, are now used by private organizations without the same democratic controls and guarantees. There is growing concern about the possible abuse of these powerful monitoring systems.
The lack of transparency and regulatory oversight of these companies is also a concern. They often set aside criticism by emphasizing that they rely on publicly available information such as social media data and news articles.
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