Data Driven: Truckers, Technology, and the New Workplace Surveillance

A behind-the-scenes look at how digital surveillance is affecting the trucking way of life


Published (US):
Dec 6, 2022
Published (UK):
Jan 31, 2023
6.12 x 9.25 in.
32 b/w illus.
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Long-haul truckers are the backbone of the American economy, transporting goods under grueling conditions and immense economic pressure. Truckers have long valued the day-to-day independence of their work, sharing a strong occupational identity rooted in a tradition of autonomy. Yet these workers increasingly find themselves under many watchful eyes. Data Driven examines how digital surveillance is upending life and work on the open road, and raises crucial questions about the role of data collection in broader systems of social control.

Karen Levy takes readers inside a world few ever see, painting a bracing portrait of one of the last great American frontiers. Federal regulations now require truckers to buy and install digital monitors that capture data about their locations and behaviors. Intended to address the pervasive problem of trucker fatigue by regulating the number of hours driven each day, these devices support additional surveillance by trucking firms and other companies. Traveling from industry trade shows to law offices and truck-stop bars, Levy reveals how these invasive technologies are reconfiguring industry relationships and providing new tools for managerial and legal control—and how truckers are challenging and resisting them.

Data Driven contributes to an emerging conversation about how technology affects our work, institutions, and personal lives, and helps to guide our thinking about how to protect public interests and safeguard human dignity in the digital age.

Ideas Podcast: Data Driven

What does it mean to resist surveillance?

Office hours with Karen Levy

Awards and Recognition

  • A TAP Notable Privacy + Security Book of the Year
  • Winner of the McGannon Book Award, Fordham University
  • Winner of the Best Information Science Book Award, Association for Information Science and Technology
  • Winner of the Best Book Award, Communication, Information Technology, and Media Sociology section of the American Sociological Association
  • Winner of the McGannon Book Award, McGannon Center at Fordham University
  • Winner of the Labortech Book Award, Labortech Research Network
  • Winner of the Labor Tech Book Award, Labor Tech Research Network
  • Finalist for the PROSE Award in Cultural Anthropology and Sociology, Association of American Publishers