Close  

Amazon urged to break ties with police in petition

/ 04:49 PM June 10, 2020
Amazon

In this file photo taken on March 30, 2020 Amazon workers at Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse strike in demand that the facility be shut down and cleaned after one staffer tested positive for the coronavirus in New York. Image: Angela Weiss/AFP

A coalition of racial justice groups on Tuesday launched an online petition calling for Amazon to cut all ties with police and U.S. immigration officials.

The petition takes aim at Amazon Web Services cloud computing unit’s “Rekognition” facial recognition technology and Ring surveillance cameras used for home security.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Amazon needs to examine its structural role in the systemic oppression of black people,” said Media Justice campaign strategies director Myaisha Hayes.

The groups want Amazon to sever ties with police departments and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

FEATURED STORIES

Amazon’s “surveillance empire” could be used by police to target people by race, making the company complicit in such abuse, Media Justice and other petition backers argued.

Amazon did not immediately return a request for comment.

“The inequitable and brutal treatment of black people in our country must stop,” Amazon said in a recent tweet in support of protests calling for the justice system to treat people of all races equally.

“Together we stand in solidarity with the black community — our employees, customers and partners — in the fight against systemic racism and injustice.”

It was not clear to what degree Rekognition is used by police or immigration agencies.

Ring cameras sold by Amazon are used for home security, but people can share access to surveillance video with police if they wish.

Amazon shareholders last year rejected proposals to prohibit sales of facial recognition technology to governments and study how it might threaten privacy or civil rights.

ADVERTISEMENT

The failed proposals were put forth by a group of shareholders but opposed by the board of directors at Seattle-based Amazon.

IBM this week said it is no longer selling general purpose facial recognition software and is opposed to using such technology for racial profiling or mass surveillance.

The century-old technology firm called for responsible national standards regarding how facial recognition systems should be used by police agencies. NVG

RELATED STORIES:

Brands weigh in on protests over police brutality

Google says it won’t build AI tools for oil and gas drillers

TOPICS: Amazon, facial recognition, police, surveillance
Read Next
EDITORS' PICK
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2020 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.