To prevent fraud, Amazon now requires delivery drivers to take selfies as a way to confirm their identity. Through facial recognition, Amazon will verify drivers' identities to make sure they're legitimate.
The new requirements are now listed on the Amazon Flex app, telling drivers that they need to snap a selfie before resuming with their usual work. They shouldn't take it while driving, though, Amazon warned.
Amazon Asks Drivers To Take Selfies To Prevent Fraud
Through this, Amazon could prevent multiple people from sharing the same account and screen out anyone who's technically unauthorized from delivering packages, including criminals attempting to use Amazon Flex as an excuse to check out people's homes.
Amazon has had a problem with dishonest drivers who steal packages prior. The company implemented a handful of tricks to weed out these thieves, including using fake packages to bait them. The selfie requirement is a small but welcome addition to prevent these from happening again. But, as The Verge notes, a thief can easily bypass this test.
The selfie requirement applies only to Flex drivers who are promised flexible hours and getting paid $18 to $25 an hour. These drivers work as independent contractors, using their own cars to deliver packages. It's important to note that Amazon told drivers that it might also collect biometric data "to confirm your identity from time to time" before asking for the selfies.
Uber Did The Same Thing, Here's What Happened
Uber implemented a similar policy in 2016, asking drivers to take selfies before signing into the platform and taking rides. But it soon proved to be a largely imperfect system. For starters, transgender Uber drivers were finding their accounts suspended after taking selfies and not matching with their previous photos on file due to them being in their transition phase. Clearly, facial recognition isn't a surefire, guaranteed method for confirming identities.
It's not certain what software Amazon is using for facial recognition. Similarly uncertain is what happens to that stored facial data. But that's largely beside the point. These drivers have much bigger problems to deal with, including not being entitled to benefits such as healthcare due to their status as independent contractors.
In 2017, they were found to have few, if any labor protections, and that has largely stayed the same ever since. It's not clear what Amazon intends to do with regard to this situation. But regulatory government has grown more critical of companies that depend on huge numbers of contract laborers.