In order to entice workers to join the world of freelance work, startups and platforms often promise freedom and flexibility, saying you can work from anywhere, anytime. But according to Buzzfeed, 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 going as far as taking webcam photos of the workers.
Upwork hosts “millions” of coding and design gigs. It guarantees payment for freelancers, even if the client who hired them won’t pay. But all freelancers have to agree in advance to use Upwork’s digital Work Diary, reports Buzzfeed, which counts not only counts keystrokes to measure productivity, but takes screenshots of their computer screens to make sure they are doing the work they say they are doing.
While some freelancers say the tracker is fine because it guarantees payment, others find it unnerving. Adam Florin, a digital freelancer who says he’s used various time tracking tools during his 15-year career, finds Upwork’s software particularly “creepy.”
“I’ve never had a client expect to be able to look over my shoulder for every minute of every day,” Florin told BuzzFeed News. “That’s what Upwork is providing.”
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