Exposing Edinburgh

Edinburgh is an epicentre of corporate innovation to change the reality of work through data-driven control. Edinburgh workers and future workers are the test subjects of profiteering platforms.The Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal aims to make Edinburgh the data capital of Europe, and to create an army of data workers who work to data-driven commands. And companies like Deliveroo and Caresourcer have homes in Edinburgh’s expanding tech sector.As the economy gears itself up to gorge on worker-generated data, the Observatory is a site of reconnaissance and resistance for the workers that companies want to have at their disposal.

Data Workers

Delivery riders and care workers are being called ‘data workers’ by the Edinburgh city authorities.

The City Deal’s Joint Committee Report gave two examples of data workers: care workers and delivery drivers. The Observatory will allow those labelled data workers to monitor these industrial policy initiatives pursued by the City Deal, and keep abreast of policy developments post COVID-19.


The Observatory builds on a research project to explore whether workers can amass useful data via GDPR and other legislation. It concluded that legal tools of taking data are limited, and that understanding how labour is being organised and how decisions about them are made requires collaboration to build up networks for sharing information and data through a Workers Observatory.

The research by Karen Gregory, Wenlong Li, and Cailean Gallagher will be published as a paper: Emancipating Gig Workers from Algorithmic Control: A Multidisciplinary Inquiry into Data Rights, Data Flows and Databased Worker Science. For more information contact cgallagher@stuc.org.uk.