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By now, you've probably become resigned to the fact that your information is being sold online. After all, the only way Amazon, Facebook, Google, and other Big Tech companies could know more about your habits during the pandemic would be to hire a famous detective agency to spy on you.
Well, that is exactly what Amazon is alleged to have done to its workers. According to Motherboard, leaked reports suggest that Amazon hired Pinkerton operatives to spy on Polish workers who may have had interview help from Amazon managers. Pinkerton is the notorious detective agency that started during the American Civil War and became famous for pursuing notable outlaws such as Jesse James. According to Motherboard, the internal reports detail how Amazon analysts monitor employees who are considering organizing.
Unfortunately, that is not the only claim Amazon is facing, according to Spanish news site El Diario. Other leaked internal documents indicate Amazon hired private detectives to spy on a workers' strike in Spain on Black Friday in 2019. If true, this could violate constitutional laws in Spain regarding data privacy and the right to assemble.
Amazon has repeatedly denied that it has engaged in any behavior that violates local laws and maintains that it uses Pinkerton for security matters. CCOO, a Spanish union, told Business Insider that it was considering filing a criminal lawsuit against Amazon for its conduct.
In a separate lawsuit filed on Friday, December 4, Amazon "flex drivers" filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California alleging that Amazon is monitoring their private Facebook groups. According to the complaint, Amazon again hired outside help from people with intelligence backgrounds to monitor the activities and comments in the supposedly private groups.
Amazon Flex is a program under which people who are not employed by Amazon can deliver packages. Particularly during the shopping season between Thanksgiving and the holidays, Amazon flex workers can be busy. According to the complaint, an Amazon document titled "social media monitoring," lists forty-three closed Facebook groups and pages run by flex drivers in different cities in the United States alone that Amazon monitors. The lawsuit alleges violations of California privacy law and seeks to represent a class of Amazon Flex Drivers.
Amazon has not yet had the opportunity to defend itself in court, so we cannot assume all the allegations are true. However, if you're feeling a bit surveilled, you can always shut down your browser and have a private conversation in your home. Just make sure to unplug your Alexa first.