business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  Bloomberg reports that Amazon is being sued by drivers who charge that the "algorithms, apps and devices the company uses to manage its sprawling logistics operation" are putting them at risk.

According to the story, "Amazon closely tracks 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.'  If drivers fall behind schedule, Amazon employees send text messages 'complaining that a certain driver is ‘behind the rabbit’ and needs to be ‘rescued’ to ensure that all the packages on Amazon’s route are delivered in compliance with Amazon’s unrealistic and dangerous speed expectations."

Because many drivers often work for third-party delivery companies, Amazon says it cannot be held responsible for accidents.  The lawsuits, however, maintain that Amazon's hands-on approach means that it actually is managing those companies from afar.  

Which is where it gets tricky - because the plaintiffs want access to Amazon's algorithms to make their case, and Amazon is resisting making them public because, it says, it will reveal proprietary "trade secrets."