[iDC] From Mechanical Turk to Web-based worker surveillance

Zbigniew Lukasiak zzbbyy at gmail.com
Fri Jun 26 11:11:19 UTC 2009

On Thu, Jun 25, 2009 at 2:14 PM, Sam Ladner<samladner at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi folks,
> I've been lurking and frankly, do a poor job of it. There's simply too much
> on the list to take in! So I read a bit here and there and read some on the
> mechancial turk phenomenon, and the MySpace layoffs.
> Of interest in today's New York Times is a story on "freelancing" (a
> misnomer if I ever heard one, but that's another post). The angle of the
> article is that more small businesses are signing up for "high-end" services
> such as Web design, precisely because they can now afford it through
> Web-enabled freelancing sites such as oDesk.
> Buried well near the end of the story, oDesk actually takes a snapshots of a
> "freelancer's" workstation for the "client" 6 times a day.
> http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/25/business/smallbusiness/25freelance.html?pagewanted=1&ref=business
> I'm reminded of Marglin's famous article, "What do bosses do?" His answer:
> they control. Are Web-enabled "freelancing" sites the new "factory system"?

Adding another angle to that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TopCoder

Is that exploitation?  I, myself being a programmer, find it liberating.

Zbigniew Lukasiak

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