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Parliamentary Group Calls for Legislation on Worker AI Tracking

David Paul

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AI tracking
A new report suggests robust law be put in place after it was found that the algorithmic tracking of staff is affecting their mental health.

Monitoring of workers and their performance through AI is having a negative impact on workers’ mental health, according to a cross-party group of MPs and peers.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has called for a form of accountability act to protect the wellbeing of workers in a newly released report.

Their report, titled ‘The New Frontier: Artificial Intelligence at Work’, suggested that some form of legislation would ensure evaluation of the effect of performance-driven tracking.

Suggestions in the report point to the introduce a regulatory framework to promote strong governance and innovation together: an Accountability for Algorithms Act.

Included in the act would be new rights and responsibilities for companies to ensure that all significant impacts from algorithmic decision-making on work or workers are considered, and that appropriate action is always taken.

The APPG said that its recommendation is “aimed at ensuring our AI ecosystem is human-centred and properly accountable” to shape a future of Good Work.

As they have discovered through their research, the APPG said that there is an “urgent need” to roll out “robust proposals” to protect workers and safeguard values.

“Pervasive monitoring and target-setting technologies, in particular, are associated with pronounced negative impacts on mental and physical wellbeing as workers experience the extreme pressure of constant, real-time micro-management and automated assessment,” the APPG said in the report.

The group conceded that AI offers “invaluable opportunities to create new work and improve the quality of work”, but only if designed and deployed with this as an objective.

However, the APPG said there was a “growing body of evidence” that the use of AI is negatively impacting the conditions and quality of life for workers across the country in several fields.

Commenting on the report, David Davis MP, the Conservative chair of the APPG, said: “Our inquiry reveals how AI technologies have spread beyond the gig economy to control what, who and how work is done.

“It is clear that, if not properly regulated, algorithmic systems can have harmful effects on health and prosperity.”


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The monitoring of workers has increased exponentially over the last 18 months as people have been working from home during the pandemic, with a recent poll by the union Prospect finding that the number of employees being monitored has surged over the last six months.

Researchers found that around 32% of workers were being monitored at work in October this year, up from 24% in April.

Barclays was put under investigation by a UK privacy watchdog in August last year after spying claims by staff using invasive tracking software.

The Information Commissioner’s Office said it was investigating after media reported that the staff were being monitored during work hours.


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David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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