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Covid-19 surveillance added new burdens on essential workers — and gave them little data to protect their health

At the peak of the pandemic, essential workers faced rampant tech-based surveillance, from overhead infrared thermometers to wearables that tracked their proximity to one another.

These technologies forced employees to adjust the way they worked and sometimes made their workplaces less safe. They also didn’t offer workers clear and accurate information that would help them protect their health, according to a new report by the nonprofit Data & Society. Researchers assessed the impact of Covid-19 surveillance on these mostly Black, Latino, and low-income workers — and how these practices compounded information gaps and added stress, and extra labor for laborers already vulnerable to these factors before the pandemic.

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