A parliamentary committee report voices concern over companies using AI and other tech to keep tabs on their workers.
Employers should not be allowed to use computers and artificial intelligence to monitor workers without their consent, a parliamentary committee has said.
In a report published this week. the committee cited studies that showed how such tracking caused stress and anxiety for workers. The report also cited experts’ concerns over data privacy.
As working from home has risen in recent years, some companies have used software to monitor what their staff are doing. This includes programmes that log keystrokes to see how much workers are typing, or take screenshots of their computer displays.
“The monitoring of employees in smart workplaces should be done only in consultation with, and with the consent of, those being monitored,” the House of Commons’ Committee on Culture, Media and Sport concluded in its report.
The report noted that employees currently have few options for recourse, citing researchers who said that GDPR rules have limited powers to protect people in their own workplace.
On top of ethical concerns about this practice, some academic researchers have also warned this year that keeping digital tabs on employees actually makes them less productive because it damages morale.
In the US, a study published in the Journal of Management found that workers who knew they were being digitally tracked were more likely to take breaks and work more slowly than those who were trusted to work independently.
In order to find a way forward, the parliamentary committee’s report said the government should commission research into the impact of data collection systems at work.