Uber: a union of the English is due to find out the algorithm

The most recent court case with regard to Uber in time to see alegal action by a trade union English of the drivers, the Apps, Drivers and Couriers Union, at the district court of Amsterdam, where the international headquarters of Uber. The purpose of this move is to discover the functioning of computer algorithms secrets used by Uber to manage their operations. The union considers it essential that the company ensures the utmost transparency, to exclude any form of discrimination or unequal treatment in respect of the drivers.

According to lawyers who have filed legal action in the event of victory, the driver will have the most bargaining power. This is because, as explained by Anton Ekker, a legal privacy expert in charge of the case, to the Republic, Uber “exercises control over the drivers through the data and the automated decision-making process and is blocking access to this information. The app decides millions of times per day who will get which race: who gets those that are most profitable; the one who gets the short strokes. But this is not just about Uber. The problem is everywhere. Algorithms and data give a lot of control but the people who are subjected to it often are not aware of this”.

According to documents filed by the Adcu, Uber would use tags in the profiles of drivers, ranging from reports of “inappropriate behaviour”, delays and more. The drivers, referring to the privacy legislation, the european, argue that workers have the right of access to profiling data collected through the application, including information on the reliability, the position, the movements and the behavior of a driver. Only with full access to their data, the drivers would have a real power of collective bargaining.