December 10, 2023


Sapiens Digital

Uber’s Call Center Company Uses AI Cameras to Surveil Employee Homes

As working from home became common during the pandemic, employers turned to technology to determine if employees remained productive in their new work environments. While some companies used tracking software on employees’ computers, some used cameras to monitor employee activity. But Teleperformance, a company offering call center services to some of the big names in the tech industry, is going a step further to install AI-powered cameras in employee homes, NBC has reported

Teleperformance, offering digital integrated business services, has over 380,000 employees in 83 countries. The company, claims on its website, that it combines high technology with a human touch, to deliver extraordinary customer experiences. However, in a push to squeeze out more productivity from its employees, the company plans to install cameras in employee homes. Earlier this year, the company made its employees in its Colombia office, sign addendums to their existing employment contracts to enable the installation of AI-powered cameras in their homes, NBC reported. 

Employees at its offices often work odd hours to serve customers in countries in different time zones. When the pandemic broke out, photos of some of its employees in the Philippines sleeping in the office were received by media outlets. After this, the company has taken pride in shifting much of its workforce to work-at-home. However, as NBC reported its employees in Colombia were pressurized to accept new terms of monitoring to their existing contracts or risking their jobs altogether. 

Apart from the installation of cameras, the new terms also included sharing of biometric data such as fingerprints as well as allowing the company to capture video and audio streams from the camera that might inadvertently also capture images of children in the house. The cameras are to record and monitor the employee’s work in real-time while the AI-based analysis will scan the room for items such as mobile phones, paper, and other items in accordance with the company’s ‘Clean Desk Policy.’ According to the company spokesperson, the policy ensures data security compliance, since many employees have access to sensitive client data during work. 

Teleperformance’s clients include some of the biggest names in the tech industry. While Apple and Amazon denied requesting such surveillance from their contractor, Uber confirmed that it uses Teleperformance’s camera monitoring services to ensure that only authorized personnel is accessing sensitive customer data, NBC reported. 

Since homes in Colombia are constrained for space, some of Teleperformance’s employees have reported that the implementation of the policy would result in the installation of cameras in their bedrooms, which they are currently using as workspaces.  Apart from this, Teleperformance also retains the right to subject its employees to a polygraph test, if required. We have reached out to the company for clarification and will update the story if a comment is received. 

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