Categories
Surveillance Capitalism

Amazon’s latest drone a harbinger of total surveillance

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/09/24/amazon-ring-security-drone/

Jeff Bezos, head of Amazon, personally owns the Washington Post, but its technology writer is quite vocal with criticisms and questions of Amazon’s latest “security” offerings and their dystopian potentials.

EXCERPT:

The new Amazon devices most likely to raise eyebrows use cameras, not just microphones. That starts with the $250 Always Home Cam, part of its Ring brand of connected doorbells and security systems. This camera is an autonomous drone that flies inside your house so you can check in from afar. “We wanted to create one camera that could give users the flexibility of every viewpoint they want around the home,” Ring founder Jamie Siminoff said in a blog post.

Before you ask: No the drone doesn’t contain lasers for entertaining the cats — they’re likely to be terrified, anyway. Amazon says the Always Home Cam does have obstacle-avoidance technology so it doesn’t run into anything unexpected.

Siminoff said the idea was you could use your phone to remotely see if you left a window open, or the stove on, which is convenient. But the scary part is we know those aren’t the only ways it could be used. Amazon said the drone always hums at a “certain volume” so people are aware it is running, and can’t be manually controlled — it only flies along a preset path.

But as we’ve learned from Ring’s other products, what’s to stop it from spying on family members or neighbors, becoming a tool for police — or being used to watch you? Once again, Ring’s products raise more social questions than the company seems to want to address. Ring said Siminoff was not available for an interview.

Categories
Amazon/Whole Foods Monopoly Power Surveillance Capitalism

Amazon Hawking Q-Anon Conspiracy Products

https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-selling-qanon-shirts-masks-products-2020-8

Excerpt:

  • Amazon currently displays hundreds of results for products associated with QAnon, the far-right conspiracy theory, which the FBI has deemed as posing potential domestic terrorism threats.
  • Business Insider found hundreds of results for t-shirts, books, stickers, masks, and other items when searching for “QAnon” in Amazon’s marketplace.
  • However, not all of the results were directly tied to the far-right fringe conspiracy theory — some were pro-Trump propaganda or messaging associated with “Blue Lives Matter.”
  • Amazon’s third-party seller policy prohibits the sale of “products that promote, incite or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views.”
  • While Amazon lists hundreds of QAnon-related items for sale, other tech companies including Twitter, TikTok, and Facebook have declared a hardened stance against QAnon-related content leading up to the 2020 presidential election.

 

Categories
Boycott Amazon Campaign Surveillance Capitalism

No Tech for ICE! Campaign

Mijente has launched a No Tech for ICE campaign, focusing on Palantir — its CEO, Alex Karp is pictured above — and its use of Amazon Web Services to help ICE, the Border Patrol and DHS carry out the mission of deportation and repression of immigrants and other Latinx people in the US.

Here are two links:

https://action.mijente.net/petitions/tell-jeff-bezos-amazon-cut-your-ties-to-ice

https://notechforice.com/palantir/

As vice.com recently reported:

HTTPS://CMS.VICE.COM/VICE/EN_U…

In a CNBC interview at Davos, Palantir CEO Alex Karp admitted that his company “[finds] people in our country who are undocumented.” For years, Palantir has attempted to deny or downplay any role in those operations by pointing to the two wings of ICE, which deal with “criminal investigations” and immigration enforcement.

Palantir, a technology company founded by Karp and Peter Thiel, has contracts with the Pentagon, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security. Last year alone, Palantir secured $1.5 billion in new federal government contracts. But it has faced the most scrutiny over its contracts with ICE.

Categories
Surveillance Capitalism

Amazon’s Role in Surveillance of the Black Community

From OpenMedia.org:

Amazon is one of the leading vendors of facial recognition software in the world. Their Rekognition facial recognition technology has been marketed and sold to police departments all over the U.S.1

This software is dangerous and biased. It’s deployed disproportionately in communities of color, which leads to greater instances of harassment, wrongful arrest or worse. It’s also been repeatedly proven to disproportionately misidentify people of color. 2, 3

This week, Amazon put out a solidarity statement claiming to stand with the Black community and announced donations to various equity and justice organizations – but these actions ring completely hollow while Amazon’s still making money off facilitating biased policing of that very community. Send a message now over Twitter to pressure Amazon to immediately stop selling this technology to police departments. (not on Twitter or social media? The page has some options for using Facebook or email).

SEND A MESSAGE

Here’s what Amazon posted just the other day on their Twitter and Facebook accounts:4

They also announced donations to several organizations in the U.S. working towards equity and justice, including the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the ACLU.5

Since posting the tweet and the announcement, Amazon has ignored replies asking them to make good on their words and dollars by stopping sales of biased and dangerous facial recognition software to police departments.

We shouldn’t let hypocrisy like this stand. Use of their technology by police poses a huge privacy and safety risk to anyone currently protesting on the streets. 

Hundreds of people have already been calling them out. Can you amplify this message so that it finally breaks through? Visit the action page for a sample tweet, Facebook message, or email that can be sent in one click.

SEND A MESSAGE

Thanks for all you do,

Victoria with OpenMedia

P.S. Amazon’s live phone support is currently inactive due to COVID-19. But if you’re able to do so, voicing your concerns in that way, once it’s restored, is another powerful way to add pressure.

Sources

  1. Amazon sells facial recognition software to police all over the US, but has no idea how many departments are using it: Business Insider
  2.  ‘It’s techno-racism’: Detroit is quietly using facial recognition to make arrests: The Guardian
  3. AI researchers tell Amazon to stop selling ‘flawed’ facial recognition to the police: The Verge
  4. @Amazon on Twitter
  5. Amazon donates $10 million to organizations supporting justice and equity: The Amazon Blog: Day One