Major European trade unions call Brussels investigate Amazon spying workers - New clash between Amazon and the unions. In this case, it is not due to complaints about the "inhuman" working conditions of its warehouses in Europe or in the US or about the rate of work accidents among its employees, which have provoked protests by workers and denials by the American platform of electronic commerce.

In this case, the point of conflict is Amazon's practices against the union activity of its employees, after Vice revealed in September that the company has opened processes to hire investigators to spy on the union activity of the company's workers and that controls the social media activity of drivers of its Amazon Flex service in the US, UK and Spain.

Following the disclosure of these practices by the platform, major European Unions have called on the European Commission to open an investigation into Amazon's "potentially illegal" spying practices on its workers, according to The Guardian, highlighting that these practices by Amazon may violate European Union labor, privacy and personal data management regulations.

This petition has arrived in Brussels with the support of 37 signatories, including the Secretary general of CCOO, Unai Sordo, that of the French trade union CFTD, Laurent Berger, that of the German ver.di, Frank Werneke, in addition to those of other organizations such as the British unions Communication Workers Union, Usdaw and GMB. In total, they represent more than 12 million European workers.

Thus, the letter addressed to European commissioners for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, and employment and social rights, Nicolas Schmidt, states that " Amazon's plans to increase worker surveillance across Europe and around the world are a further reminder that EU institutions must closely investigate Amazon's business and labour practices across the continent."

European trade unions call Brussels investigate Amazon spying

The European trade union charter warns of "the growth of an industry based on anti-union practices in Europe, as we have already seen in the US "and denounces that" Amazon has led the attack on workers 'rights, using the monopoly power over data to crush its workers' efforts to improve their conditions."

In fact, Amazon recently fired 5 workers in the US for publicly demonstrating against working conditions at the company and has been investigated in this country after it was revealed in April that its subsidiary Whole Foods has been using a heat map to track possible unionization efforts among its workers.

For this reason, the director for Europe of the International Federation of unions of the UNI services sector, Oliver Roething, has told The Guardian that " revelations have been accumulating over the last few weeks: the corporation that leads the richest person in the world is spying on some of the lowest paid workers in the EU."

End of the European trade unions call Brussels investigate Amazon spying


A data engineer creates a platform to display usage and infected statistics on RadarCOVID that the government does not share

Applications that help track contacts and stop coronavirus infections are spread across Europe. Some experiences such as the UK NHS COVID-19 App, or the Irish COVIDTracker, have shown solidity in two respects: because the population is installing them massively, in the case of the British, or because of the high degree of transparency in the second.

The Spanish RadarCOVID does not enjoy the same privilege. It began its nationwide launch at the end of August in several autonomous communities, and now, in October, it is still unclear when it will be active in regions as punished by the coronavirus as Madrid and Catalonia.

One month after the start of its national launch —and three months after the announcement of its pilot test in San Sebastian De La Gomera, in the Canary Islands— RadarCOVID is active in most autonomous communities, according to social profiles of the Secretary of State for digitalization and Artificial Intelligence.

However, the fact that it is active does not mean that it is working: the agency of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and digital transformation actually refers to the fact that the technology of this platform is already integrated into the autonomous health services.

However, there is still no reliable data on the use and impact of this application to mitigate the pandemic, now that the second wave of coronavirus is suffering in Spain.

At the moment it is only known that the app has been downloaded more than 4 million times from Google Play, the Android App Store; and the App Store, its counterpart on iPhone.

Contact tracking applications— actually, testing for coronavirus exposures-work using a technology developed by Google and Apple between April and May of this year. Basically, functionality integrated into the operating systems of these two technologies-used in the vast majority of phones-allows devices to communicate with nearby phones via a low-power Bluetooth connection.

Through this Bluetooth connection, the phones are exchanged anonymous and random codes and make a history of the devices they have been close to. In other words: these apps allow you to carry in your pocket a radar of people you meet.

If any of these people end up reporting that they have been infected with coronavirus in the application developed by the government, the platform may send you a notification that you have been exposed to a possible infection of coronavirus.

In order for these positives to be communicated on the platform, it is the autonomous communities that are responsible for giving users a password that they will have to enter in their phone. These keys are given, in particular, by doctors and health professionals to their patients, although it is disputed whether the distribution of them is being effective.

The number of passwords that have been generated to be entered in the app depends on the autonomies, so it is not a data that the government itself can access.

However, last month the Executive released the RadarCOVID code —which served, among other things, to avoid a fatal error of the app in its iPhone version - and based on this code, a Spanish Data Engineer has created a platform to account for some metrics of the app.

Through GitHub, Pedro Pereira, who is what this data engineer is called, shares daily and fixed photographs of how many TEK are being uploaded to the RadarCOVID app server.

TEKS are the technical name of the random codes generated by mobile phones to make the history of your contacts.

Apple and Google's technology works as follows: when a person reports their contagion on the RadarCOVID Platform, 14 Tek codes are sent, each corresponding to a day. The codes that mobile phones communicate with are generated daily. The idea of these 14 days is to alert all people who may have crossed with the positive of COVID-19 during the two weeks prior to its notification, as it could have occurred a contagion.

To measure how many confirmed positives there are on the platform, what Pereira's development does is check how many daily Teks have been generated in the last few days. In this way, you can make an approximation —not a consolidated figure—.

Pereira explains that there are problems: some phones have a first version of the protocol with which Apple and Google designed this technology, and others have a second version. In addition, it is not known how many fake TEKS the government can introduce to try to anonymize the true codes as much as possible.

In any case, he explains to Business Insider Spain that he started this development "out of curiosity about how the use was evolving, because it seems to me a very interesting technology".

The TEK figures recorded in RadarCOVID are uneven. More than 300 of these codes were detected on 26 September. On October 1st, at the time these lines were written, only less than 50 were detected.

Based on these codes, RadarCOVIDSTATS is able to make an estimate: on September 26 and 27, more than a hundred coronavirus positives were shared through the Spanish app, compared to the nearly 60 that had been detected at the time these lines were written on October 1.

With these data, Pereira is also able to estimate the use of RadarCOVID against the total number of active cases of coronavirus in Spain. In the last 7 days, of all newly diagnosed coronavirus patients in the country, less than 1% of patients used RadarCOVID.

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