Occurred: March 2021
Bloomberg reports that Amazon is being sued after one of its Delivery Service Partner (DSP) vans smashed into a Tesla Model S outside Atlanta, Georgia, leaving the back seat passenger with serious brain and spinal-cord injuries.
Total driver surveillance
Whilst the van driver worked for Harper Logistics, Ans Rana accuses Amazon of making its drivers and partners work to unrealistic deadlines driven by the suite of algorithms, apps and devices the company uses to manage its logistics business.
The lawsuit (pdf) argues that Amazon closely monitors delivery drivers’ every move including 'backup monitoring, speed, braking, acceleration, cornering, seatbelt usage, phone calls, texting, in-van cameras that use artificial intelligence to detect for yawning and more.'
Trade secrecy opacity
Amazon denies culpability, pushing the blame on to its delivery partner and has requested that any technological information be sealed by the courts and kept private, claiming that it qualifies as protected trade secrets.
According to Bloomberg, Amazon is facing 119 lawsuits involving injuries sustained with Amazon or DSP vehicles this year; media reports document unsafe practices such as forcing Amazon delivery drivers to take dangerous routes.
Operator: Amazon; Harper Logistics
Purpose: Manage package delivery
Technology: Amazon Flex app/algorithm
Issue: Safety; Liability
Transparency: Governance; Black box; Legal
Published: November 2021
Last updated: August 2023