Racial Harassment: Uber Eats Driver Edrissa Manjang’s Battle Against Facial Recognition Technology in the Gig Economy

Uber Eats driver awarded payout in discrimination case

In November 2019, Pa Edrissa Manjang joined Uber Eats and initially did not have to send selfies to register for jobs. However, in 2021, the app started increasing verification checks, leading to his account being removed due to “continued mismatches.” The real-time ID check was intended to ensure safety for all app users, but Mr. Manjang and others saw it as racial harassment.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission and the App Drivers and Couriers Union supported Mr. Manjang’s case and expressed concerns about the impact of artificial intelligence on his income. They also called out the excessive selfie requests as racial harassment. Mr. Manjang was eventually reinstated and is now working in Oxfordshire. He viewed the out-of-court settlement as the end of a challenging period but hoped it would contribute to strengthening rights and protections for ethnic minorities in relation to AI.

Baroness Falkner, chair of the EHRC, emphasized Mr. Manjang’s right to understand opaque processes that affected his work without resorting to legal action. She highlighted previous cases where ethnicity impacted technology use, including in law enforcement, government offices, and educational institutions. These instances underscored the need for greater transparency and accountability in the application of AI technologies.

In conclusion, Uber Eats driver Pa Edrissa Manjang faced “racially discriminatory” facial recognition checks that led him to lose access to his job on multiple occasions. His case raised concerns about AI’s impact on gig economy workers’ income and highlighted the potential issues associated with this technology. It also shed light on how facial recognition can be used unfairly against certain groups of people based on their ethnicity or race.

As such, it is crucial that companies using AI technologies are transparent about their processes and take steps to ensure that they do not discriminate against certain groups of people based on their identity or background. Additionally, governments should regulate these technologies closely to prevent misuse or abuse by companies.

In summary, Uber Eats driver Pa Edrissa Manjang’s case highlights the importance of protecting individuals from discrimination based on their race or ethnicity when using AI technologies such as facial recognition checks for employment purposes.

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