Artificial Intelligence: AI-Powered Home Surveillance Imposed On Call Center Employees Working For US Corporations

Teleperformance, the call center contractor, is forcing employees to install cameras at home.

An NBC News investigation has revealed that Colombia-based call center employees of Teleperformance (EPA: TEP), which has companies such as Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), and Uber (NYSE: UBER) on its client roster, are being asked to sign contracts allowing for the installation of AI-powered cameras at home.  NBC News reviewed such a contract, first issued by Teleperformance in March. (NBC News)

AI-powered cameras

Six Colombian employees spoke on condition of anonymity to NBC and revealed that the contract insisted on monitoring by AI-powered cameras in workers’ homes, voice analytics, and storage of data collected from the worker’s family members, including minors.

A June earnings statement by Teleperformance said the company had shifted 240,000 of its 380,000 employees to work-from-home mode, the move being facilitated by its TP Cloud Campus product built for remote working. Unfortunately, it appears the company is using this technology to subject home workers to office-like supervision.

Most call-center employees would not be able to afford a separate room for work in their homes and often work from their bedrooms. Having an AI camera monitoring the worker including their family is intrusive, said one employee in Bogota working on Apple’s account.

Another employee was told she would be taken off the Apple account unless she signed the contract.

The Albanian Information and Data Protection Commissioner ruled at the end of 2020 that Teleperformance could not use webcams to surveil home workers in the country.

Response from Teleperformance

Teleperformance spokesman Mark Pfeiffer told NBC that the company was “constantly looking for ways to enhance the Teleperformance Colombia experience for both our employees and our customers, with privacy and respect as key factors in everything we do.”

Response from Apple

According to NBC, customers such as Apple do not appear to pressurize their contractors to employ such tactics.

Apple spokesperson Nick Leahy said that the company “prohibits the use of video or photographic monitoring by our suppliers and have confirmed Teleperformance does not use video monitoring for any of their teams working with Apple.”

However, it is alleged that in March Teleperformance sent its global workforce an eight-page addendum to their contracts allowing for new home surveillance rules.

The company’s excuse: Clients wanted the additional monitoring to improve security and prevent data breaches when employees were working from home.

Related Story:  Amazon Installs AI-Enabled Cameras In Delivery Vans

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