Summary of “This “Creepy” Time-Tracking Software Is Like Having Your Boss Watch You Every Second”

On the digital freelance platform Upwork, company software tracks hundreds of freelancers while they work by saving screenshots, measuring the frequency of their clicks and keystrokes, and even sometimes taking webcam photos of the workers.
Upwork’s founding mission was to create a platform where “Workers would enjoy freedom and flexibility to find jobs online,” and in a 2017 blog post, the company described the growing number of freelance workers as “a shift that gives workers the independence to choose when and where they want to work.”
Upwork’s time tracking software contradicts that sense of freedom – similar to how other gig economy platforms, including Uber, Lyft, Instacart, and Postmates, promise workers flexibility and autonomy but then track their every movement with GPS and evaluate their performances with fickle customer reviews.
“The technologies provide proof of work that a freelancer performs and, if there is a case where the client doesn’t pay the freelancer for their work, Upwork steps in and pays the freelancer out of the company’s own pockets.” The company says time tracking isn’t required for 85% of projects on its site.
After reviewing Upwork forums, University of Edinburgh’s Gregory found that workers discussing the time tracking tool had mixed opinions on its usefulness.
“Not only is it not an indication of working activity … it sets a creepy practice as the norm.”
Upwork’s screenshot function also works in 10-minute intervals, though not every 10 minutes exactly.
Freelancer Jack Larsen acknowledged some discomfort with having Upwork constantly collect information about his work habits, but said he ultimately trusts the company “Not do something evil with what they collect.”

The orginal article.