Data at Work

Cracked Labs | research track

Surveillance and Digital Control at Work

A research project on the datafication of work with a focus on Europe

Data collection is becoming ubiquitous, including at work. Systems that constantly record data about activities and behaviors in the workplace can quickly turn into devices for extensive monitoring and control, deeply affecting the rights and freedoms of employees. Opportunities and risks are not distributed equally. While employers optimize their business processes, workers are being rated, ranked, pressured and disciplined. Companies use this recorded data to monitor behavior, assess performance and, increasingly, to direct tasks, manage workers and make automated decisions about them.

The project examines and maps how companies use personal data on (and against) employees. Based on previous German-language research, it investigates and documents systems and technologies that process personal data in the workplace and identifies key developments and issues relevant to worker rights.

The project, which is described in more detail here, results in a series of case studies and research reports, which are published online over the course of 2023 and 2024 below.

Case studies

Publications from project partners

This project follows up on previous research on surveillance and digital control at work that focused on German-speaking countries, which was carried out by Cracked Labs between 2019 and 2021 and which resulted in a comprehensive German-language report, a web publication and a report on research based on interviews with work councils in Austria.