SFGate: Do Amazon’s Movement-Tracking Wristbands Violate Workers’ Privacy Rights? by Dariush Adli
A look at the legal precedents shows Amazon could get into trouble with its newly patented devices.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently granted Amazon two patents directed to remote control of human hands. The Amazon patents are able to obtain and record users’ location and the detailed movements of their hands. Therefore, highly private information such as when an employee takes a bathroom break or pauses to scratch may be obtained and recorded by the patented system. That, in turn has led to concerns that the patents could violate protected privacy rights of employees under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Fourth Amendment applies to government actions, and would be implicated in a legal challenge to the Amazon patents, since patents are issued and enforced by the government. In addition, Amazon patents can run afoul of state statutes and common law privacy protections, which have adopted similar Fourth Amendment privacy standards.