“We must build a control system for platforms and their algorithms”

Tribune. Blinded by the mirage of “platform capitalism”, a mode of production in which a worker who is poorly rated by a client can be disconnected without explanation, our society has allowed a Trojan horse to set in that threatens our social model. At the heart of its matrix, the opacity of a “black box” called the algorithm.

It is up to the legislator to restore the law and define mechanisms for the protection of workers on work platforms in the face of this 2.0 foreman.

For safety reasons, the public authorities have been able to impose the tachograph, which measures driving time in the cabs of truck drivers. Therefore, we propose that the National Commission for Informatics and Freedoms (CNIL), an experienced and undisputed independent authority, can penetrate into algorithms, despite business secrecy, by certifying and controlling those of the most important platforms. forms and by producing normative references by sector of activity to which all platforms must comply.

It is more or less a question of inventing a “public algorithm” which controls certain data of the private algorithm in order to comply with the law: working hours, safety, health, general data protection regulations (GDPR), etc.

A strong power of sanction

This expansion of the powers of the CNIL should obviously result in an increase in its budget. The new platform tax introduced this year will allow this.

It is up to the platforms to prove that they are indeed independent and not to them to demonstrate their subordination, too often hidden by the algorithm.

If the algorithm is at the heart of the problem, it is essential, at the same time, to build a system of control of the platforms and the relations they maintain with the workers. The creation of a new independent authority will be the cornerstone. The Frouin report (” Regulate digital work platforms “, 1er December 2020) sketched the first outlines. This authority will approve the work platforms.

It should be made up of inspectors responsible for verifying and controlling the mechanisms for protecting the health and safety of workers, the methods of calculating and paying the remuneration, social dialogue, prevention of the risk of harm to employees. workers’ rights and freedoms, environmental damage and to measure the degree of vigilance.

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This authority must, of course, have strong powers of sanction, going as far as refusing to grant an activity license, or even suspending or ceasing the activity of a platform in France.

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