Apple Responds to Call Center Worker Complaints About Plans to Monitor Them With Cameras at Home

Workers used to support Apple's call centers around the world have complained about plans to install cameras to monitor them when working from home, NBC News reports.

2019 imac home
Employees of Teleperformance in Colombia, a major call center company used by Apple, have raised concerns about lengthy new contracts that allow them to be monitored by AI-powered cameras installed in their homes, voice analytics, and storage of data about workers' family members, including children. One worker based in Bogota, who works on the Apple account, told NBC News:

The contract allows constant monitoring of what we are doing, but also our family. I think it's really bad. We don't work in an office. I work in my bedroom. I don't want to have a camera in my bedroom.

The contract asked workers to agree to video cameras being installed in their home or on their computers, angled toward their workspace, to record and monitor them in real-time. It also included the requirement for consent to be monitored using AI-powered video analysis tools that can identify restricted objects around the workspace, such as cellphones.

In addition, it asked workers to agree to the sharing of data and images relating to any children they have under the age of 18 who may be picked up by video and audio monitoring tools, give biometric data, including fingerprints, and even take polygraph tests.

According to The Guardian, Teleperformance's software scans for video breaches of work rules and sends this to managers. Workers have to click "break mode" in the software to leave their desks and offer an explanation for doing so. Workers also risk being marked as "idle" if they do not use their mouse or keyboard for a certain amount of time.

Workers were reportedly told by their supervisors that if they refused to sign the new contract, they would be moved off of the Apple account.

Outside Colombia, Teleperformance uses software called TP Cloud Campus, which allows staff to work remotely in more than 19 markets, but also includes "AI to monitor clean desk policy and fraud" by analyzing camera feeds. Teleperformance has enabled 240,000 of around 380,000 employees to work from home around the world, including in India, Mexico, and the Philippines, via the TP Cloud Campus software.

Teleperformance employees in Albania, including those who work on Apple's UK account, complained to the country's Information and Data Protection Commissioner about proposals to introduce video monitoring in their homes, which resulted in Teleperformance being barred from using cameras to monitor staff working from home in that country.

A Teleperformance spokesperson told NBC News that the new contracts obtain consent for a range of scenarios to comply with data privacy laws as it develops and optimizes tools for long-term working from home for employees and clients, improving the "Teleperformance Colombia experience for both our employees and our customers, with privacy and respect as key factors in everything we do."

Workers said that management told them that it was clients who requested the additional monitoring to improve security and prevent data breaches while working from home, but the move to implement monitoring technology in employees' homes does not appear to have come from Apple. Amazon and Uber are also among Teleperformance's clients.

A spokesperson for Apple, Nick Leahy, said that the company "prohibits the use of video or photographic monitoring by our suppliers and have confirmed Teleperformance does not use video monitoring for any of their teams working with Apple." Apple said that it audited Teleperformance in Colombia this year and did not find any "core violations of our strict standards," adding "We investigate all claims and will continue to ensure everyone across our supply chain is treated with dignity and respect."

Top Rated Comments

scottct1 Avatar
7 weeks ago
Man in one week Apple has gone from the kings of privacy to the ultimate creepers.
Score: 184 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HappySponge Avatar
7 weeks ago
Look give your WFH employees their goals/metrics/criteria for success/whatever corporate jargon you like to speak, and if the people are hitting those goals that is all that matters. if I can fold laundry and solve a problem on the phone at the same time who cares?
Score: 109 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nouvejetzt Avatar
7 weeks ago
Apple, the biggest plot twist of privacy of the century LOL
Score: 88 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AppleFan91 Avatar
7 weeks ago

Man in one week Apple has gone from the kings of privacy to the ultimate creepers.

Apple, the biggest plot twist of privacy of the century LOL

I hope Apple goes out of business VERY SOON! Disgusting!

They never were the kings of privacy. Apple has been planning to be creeps for a decade. iCloud was introduced in 2011, since the business is well established now and Apple has 2 Trillion dollars, Apple decided to invade our privacy. It's all part of a game and a set up. It did not happen overnight.

What the hell is going on with Apple lately? We need a giant asterisk any time they mention "privacy" from now on.

It only took a few days. King Apple turned into Clown Apple. Seriously….
Read. The. Article.

“A spokesperson for Apple, Nick Leahy, said that the company "prohibits the use of video or photographic monitoring by our suppliers and have confirmed Teleperformance does not use video monitoring for any of their teams working with Apple."
Score: 65 Votes (Like | Disagree)
scottrngr Avatar
7 weeks ago
Hire call center workers in the US, you cheap ba$tard$.
Score: 58 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Scotticus Avatar
7 weeks ago
What the hell is going on with Apple lately? We need a giant asterisk any time they mention "privacy" from now on.
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

apple park drone june 2018 2

Apple Executive Addresses Recent Employee Concerns in Internal Video

Monday September 6, 2021 12:26 pm PDT by
In a video broadcasted to staffers days before Labor Day, Apple's retail and people chief Deirdre O'Brien addressed the growing number of Apple employees voicing their opinions about workplace issues like pay inequality. For those unaware, over the last few weeks, some Apple employees have taken to Twitter to share their workplace frustrations, sparking the "AppleToo" movement. Created by a...
apple store palo alto

Apple Giving Retail Employees Up to a $1,000 One-Time Bonus

Wednesday September 22, 2021 1:14 pm PDT by
Apple is planning to give its Apple Store employees one-time bonuses amounting to up to $1,000, reports Bloomberg. The bonuses will be provided to employees who have been working during the ongoing global health crisis. Retail employees who were hired before March 31, 2021 will be given $1,000, and employees who joined after that date will be given $500. Employees hired for the holiday...
apple park 416 security

Apple Asks All U.S. Employees to Share Vaccination Status, Still No Mandate

Wednesday September 1, 2021 10:23 am PDT by
Apple this week began asking all of its employees in the United States to provide details on their vaccination status, reports Bloomberg. Employees have been asked to voluntarily share whether they have been vaccinated by mid-September, and this applies to both employees working in an office and those working remotely. In a memo, Apple said that its focus is keeping "team members, their...
lg 32 inch ultrafine oled

LG's New 32-Inch 4K OLED UltraFine Display for Mac Now Available to Order

Friday August 13, 2021 8:36 am PDT by
LG's first-ever OLED monitor has officially come to market, with the company's new 32-inch UltraFine Display OLED Pro Monitor now available to order through B&H Photo Video. Pricing is set at $3,999 in the United States. Designed for creative professionals, LG says the monitor's 4K OLED panel provides exceptional color accuracy. However, the technology comes at a steep price compared to LG's ...
apple park 416 security

Apple Employees Increasingly Content to Criticize the Company Amid Switch Remote Working and Use of Slack

Thursday August 26, 2021 7:03 am PDT by
Some Apple staff feel more confident to speak about their employer amongst themselves, to the press, and on social media due to the company's switch to remote working and increased use of Slack over the past year, The Information reports. Apple's Slack became a "virtual town square" at the company, providing a platform for employees to protest the return to in-person work, decisions to hire...
apple store palo alto

Apple to Require COVID Testing for Employees Starting Next Month, Still No Vaccine Mandate

Friday September 17, 2021 10:15 am PDT by
Starting next month, Apple is ramping up COVID-19 testing requirements for employees. According to The Verge's Zoe Schiffer, unvaccinated employees will be required to get frequent COVID-19 tests, while vaccinated employees will receive infrequent tests if going into an office or store. Unlike other tech companies, such as Google and Facebook, Apple has not mandated vaccines for its...
apple park 416 security

Apple Expands Efforts to Vaccinate Employees, But Doesn't Mandate Vaccines

Friday August 27, 2021 12:52 pm PDT by
Apple is further pushing its employees in the United States to get vaccinated now that the Food and Drug Administration has officially approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, reports Bloomberg. Apple has launched a new internal web page, sent out an employee memo, and is holding internal talks as part of its vaccination campaign."Apple is asking everyone who has access to the vaccine and is...
apple park drone june 2018 2

Apple Employees Continue to Fight Return to Campuses and Push for Better Remote Working Options

Monday July 19, 2021 11:09 am PDT by
Apple has made it clear that most of its employees will not be able to work remotely on a permanent basis, but that isn't stopping some corporate staff from continuing to push for more relaxed remote working rules, reports Recode. In a new petition that went out this week, employees are asking Apple to allow employees to work from home on a more permanent basis. Apple has agreed to a hybrid...
apple park drone june 2018 2

Apple Considering Vaccination Requirement for Employees Returning to Offices

Wednesday July 28, 2021 10:57 am PDT by
Apple has not decided whether or not it will require vaccines for corporate employees that return to work this October, according to CNBC's Josh Lipton. Cook reportedly told Lipton that Apple is primarily focusing on when to have employees return, but the company is "monitoring things daily" to determine whether a vaccination requirement "is the right answer or not." .@tim_cook spoke w/ ...
apple watch 6s 202009

Apple Reportedly Planning Multiple New Apple Watch Health Features, Including Temperature and Blood-Pressure Monitoring

Wednesday September 1, 2021 6:25 am PDT by
Apple is planning to add a raft of new health features to the Apple Watch, including blood-pressure trends, a thermometer for fertility and sleep tracking, sleep apnea detection, and diabetes detection, as well as a number of updates for existing models, according to the Wall Street Journal. Sources who claim to be familiar with Apple's plans and have access to internal company documents...