By generating huge data sets to feed increasingly sophisticated algorithms, workplace surveillance allows employers to extract even more value from their employees. Greater data protection rights provide one possible avenue to change these power dynamics. But if employees truly want to participate in the management of their data and tap into it as a source of value, they need to wield power over data collection systems through collective bargaining and shared workplace governance.
If we are to correct the deep-rooted power imbalances within our economic institutions, we need to go to the source — the governance of corporations — and adopt more equitable arrangements. Luckily, there is a solution hiding in plain sight.