A recent surge in the posting of in-van surveillance videos on Reddit has shed light on the monitoring practices of Amazon delivery drivers. The videos, recorded by cameras installed in the vans, capture various incidents during delivery routes.
The recent Reddit video begins with a scene of an Amazon delivery driver engaging with a customer while being recorded by a driver-facing camera inside the van. The camera utilizes AI to track the driver’s movements, marking them with a green box on the monitor. The footage also displays a yellow line representing the clip’s length sent to the driver’s dispatcher, accompanied by a timecode and a “0 MPH” speed marker. In an unexpected twist, a small French bulldog jumps into the van, bringing delight to the driver and amusement to the person behind the camera.
The video’s context suggests that it originates from an Amazon delivery service partner (DSP), which operates from small areas within Amazon warehouses. These areas serve as command centers where DSPs plan routes, dispatch drivers, and monitor their activities on the road using camera feeds. While the video portrays a lighthearted moment, it also highlights the constant surveillance that Amazon drivers endure.
Reddit has become a platform for Amazon delivery drivers, particularly those in the AmazonDSPDrivers subreddit (r/AmazonDSPDrivers), to share surveillance footage from the in-van cameras. Many of these videos are not posted by the drivers themselves, indicating that access to the camera feeds is being misused. This revelation contradicts Amazon’s previous claims that the cameras were solely for safety purposes.
Comments on the Reddit posts reflect a mix of reactions. Some viewers find the videos heartwarming, while others express concerns about the dystopian nature of constant surveillance. Comparisons are made to UPS, where negotiations with the Teamsters union led to an agreement prohibiting in-vehicle cameras from recording drivers. Drivers argue that the presence of cameras goes beyond safety and invades their privacy, emphasizing that they are capable of performing their jobs without constant monitoring.
The source of these posted videos and the means by which individuals obtain access remain unclear. Another video shows a recording of a camera-labeled stop sign infraction, leaving viewers puzzled. The cameras used by Amazon come from a company called Netradyne Driver-i and employ AI to monitor drivers’ speed, location, and actions on the road. They can record both the road and the driver, requiring drivers to sign consent forms allowing the collection of biometric data for accurate labeling. Previous reports have highlighted inaccuracies in these cameras’ ability to detect violations or distracted driving.
An anonymous driver revealed that the cameras monitor various aspects of their behavior, such as speeding, hard braking, phone usage, and seat belt compliance. Amazon spokesperson Simone Griffin stated that Netradyne cameras aim to enhance driver and community safety, with access to the camera footage limited to delivery service partners. However, the recent public posting of videos violates program policies.
In addition to Netradyne, Amazon has also utilized the Mentor e-driving app, which tracks similar driving behaviors. While the subreddit suggests that Mentor will soon be phased out, Griffin clarified that both systems are in use, with Mentor predominantly used in non-branded vehicles.
The sudden influx of publicly posted videos raises questions about the reasons behind this trend. Current Amazon delivery drivers claim that they do not have access to the camera footage, leaving only Amazon, Netradyne, and the relevant DSPs with that capability. Any changes regarding access policies remain unknown, with only minor modifications reported, such as adding an object on top of the van and introducing newer camera models. There are discussions about installing cameras in cargo areas to monitor package handling.
The public disclosure of these surveillance videos on Reddit showcases the ongoing debate surrounding the monitoring practices of Amazon drivers. As concerns about privacy and surveillance mount, the discussion around balancing safety and respecting drivers’ rights continues to evolve.