Maury Blackman: Prioritizing Contributor Safety Around The World

Maury Blackman: Prioritizing Contributor Safety Around The World

Statement from Maury Blackman, Premise CEO, on retaining Secretary Michael Chertoff to advise on advancing user safety


By Maury Blackman | Chief Executive Officer

We at Premise are increasingly aware that our 3.5 million “Contributors,” the “gig” workers who complete Premise tasks across 125 countries around the world, have encountered situations that have put them at unforeseen risk; despite the fact that the tasks Contributors choose to undertake outside their homes are only those that are publicly available, publicly accessible, and lawful. Contributors also have access to sentiment surveys they can complete on their phones, in the comfort of their homes. 

Our Contributors sign on to a public app obtained from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. In terms of service and license agreements, they are informed that Premise owns all the data and can be shared or sold to any customer, private company, or government and international development customer

During the last three years, Premise has been instrumental in conducting needs assessments of informal Venezuelan settlements in Colombia, combatting vaccine hesitancy globally, working with cocoa buyers to root out forced and child labor in West Africa’s Ivory Coast, and working with global corporations to capture data related to their business operations. We also work closely with various departments in the U.S. and U.K governments to help them understand impact and shape better policies.  

We are proud that Premise is able to provide a meaningful source of income to its local Contributors. We regularly hear from Contributors how much this supplemental source of income means to their livelihood. We believe that local citizens armed with smartphones are a far better resource and better suited to be market researchers than high-priced consultants.  

The daily tasks our Contributors choose include completing “sentiment” surveys on their phones, such as information to help health care clinics or governments overcome vaccine resistance. Or they can take publicly available photos like any other resident, such as detailing how products within supermarkets are displayed, the location of public services such as hospitals across a city, and much more.

Like all organizations operating in challenging environments, Premise views Contributor safety as a critical component to success. However, like many other gig economy marketplaces, there are a handful of incidents that included arrests that have occurred over the last few years. Notably, these incidents number around 25, or 0.0007% (or less than one-ten-thousandth of a percent) of the 3.5 million Contributors in more than 125 countries. While these are mostly minor incidents and are resolved quickly, even one arrest concerns Premise.   

We expect our customer and Contributor base to grow exponentially in the coming years. For this reason, Premise has retained Secretary Michael Chertoff and his global company, The Chertoff Group (“TCG”), to do an independent study over several months and offer recommendations to Premise as to how to improve Contributor safety wherever they are choosing to do for-pay tasks anywhere in the world. Mr. Chertoff’s credentials include serving as U.S. Homeland Security Secretary to President George W. Bush, a federal appellate judge, and a top Justice Department prosecutor.

In the meantime, I am immediately implementing notices to all our Contributors around the world when they sign on to the app informing them of an international “24/7 Help Desk” and adding details to our disclosures on the Premise app so that all Contributors are reminded that Premise can sell all data collected by our Contributors to any private company or government and international development customer.