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Celebration for Professor Karen Levy’s New Book
Pictured: Attendees at the "Book Celebration" for Karen Levy's new publication: "Data Driven: Truckers, Technology, and the New Workplace Surveillance."

Karen Levy’s new book, “Data Driven: Truckers, Technology, and the New Workplace Surveillance” is, for her, … “the culmination of over a decade of research on the U.S. long-haul trucking industry…”

Recently, Levy, Associate Member of the Law Faculty & Associate Professor, Dept. of Information Science, was joined by Professor Kristen Underhill (Associate Dean for Faculty Research & Professor of Law), G.S. Hans, Associate Clinical Professor of Law, and Frank Pasquale, Professor of Law, to discuss her book’s research.

At its core, Professor Levy’s new book explores how digital surveillance has affected truck drivers’ lives and work on the road and also raises important questions about data collection in a broader sense of “social control.” As a whole, the book dives deeper into a long-haul truck driver’s everyday life, the toll that it takes, and gives the reader more insight into a world that many people know nothing about.

“Trucking is about as essential as essential work gets, if you look around this room you look at the things in your bag or on your body, all of it was at one point on a truck…there’s about two million long-haul drivers in the United States…these folks drive really long distances and can be away from home for days or months at a time,” said Levy, at the book celebration. Levy’s book addresses the toll this can have on truck drivers.

In an effort to address this widespread problem of “trucker fatigue,” by controlling the number of hours truckers are driving each day, federal regulations now require truckers to buy and install digital monitors that provide data about where and what they are doing. Of all the traveling these truckers are doing, Levy’s book explains how invasive this new technology is and how its changing industrial relationships, creating a sense of control, and exactly how truckers are combatting this.

“One of the things I really enjoyed, is how carefully Karen lays out the case as to why truckers find ELD (electronic logging device) so offensive…the way you explore the different dynamics that gave rise to the ELD’s, I think persuaded me of the sort of existential threat that they pose…” said G.S. Hans, Associate Clinical Professor of Law, about Levy.

Data Driven provides us with evidence about how technology affects our work, institutions and personal lives, and it helps us to understand that we really have to protect our self-esteem in the digital age we are living in.

“I have an uncle who was a trucker…he was very proud of the job. I remember when I graduated from college, he bragged about driving, in three days, from California to Massachusetts, and I said, ‘wow, I couldn’t do that,’ and I do think there is this incredible pride in the work.” Said Frank Pasquale, Professor of Law.

Professor Karen Levy signing a copy of her book for someone
Pictured above: Professor Karen Levy signing a copy of her book.

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