Automated Systems at Human Cloud Firms May Deny Personal Information Access to Gig Workers

The Internet Health Report 2020 Report issued by the Mozilla Foundation expresses concerns regarding human cloud platforms that deny gig workers access to their personal data and to determinants in independent contractor classification. The report states, “workers, for the most part, have no way of knowing exactly how platforms determine prices, nor can they opt out of surveillance or dispute negative performance claims… it is a business model that tends to rely on an oversupply of labor — a convenient system for consumers who want cheap, immediate service, but often leaves workers idling, underpaid, and at the mercy of opaque algorithms.”

One solution to the lack of data transparency would be to build a model for data governance that could help workers determine how they are paid, according to the Report. For example, independent research conducted at MIT demonstrated that 40% of workers at one human cloud platform had their pay cut after the company switched to an algorithmic calculation for their pay structure from a flat rate. However, there are technical challenges in creating such a thing across multiple platforms.