Country Analyses

New Study: Data Practices and Surveillance in the World of Work

Workers are increasingly being digitally surveilled, datafied and algorithmically managed in Italy, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom, a qualitative analysis by AlgorithmWatch shows.

Claudio Schwarz @ Unsplash

Fabio Chiusi
Research Associate


The study is based on a series of interviews with trade union representatives and academics who follow the deployment of data practices and algorithmic systems in the world of work in each of these countries. The study also includes a review of the available literature and case studies. The specter of a contemporary reissue of Taylorism, often evoked by the experts and practitioners we interviewed, had traditionally been associated with the so-called “gig economy” and platform work. It now looms over many more traditional industries, leading to what the UK’s Institute for the Future of Work labelled the “gigification” of work.

Policy Recomendations

To better protect workers’ rights in the context of rising digital monitoring, surveillance and automation of work we recommend to:

Country Analyses

The pandemic, with its trend towards normalizing digital surveillance both in the workplace and for remote work, further entrenched the phenomenon of being digitally surveilled, datafied and algorithmically managed in the everyday lives of workers in the countries studied. The report focuses on four countries including the United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy, and Poland.

Read the full report

These analyses represent AlgorithmWatch’s contribution to the “Surveillance and Digital Control at Work” project led by Cracked Labs, which is supported by the Austrian Arbeiterkammer. Read the report in full below.

Read more on our policy & advocacy work on ADM in the workplace.