Amazon Working With ICE Agents

An open letter had been sent out by Amazon employees calling out Chief Executive Jeffrey P. Bezos on their sale contracts with ICE for AWS Rekognition, or powerful facial recognition, as described in the letter.

 

This letter is asking for Bezo to cut all ties with the U.S. agency. And stop all sales of any facial recognition technologies to law-enforcement agencies. Employees are protesting President Trump’s administration. Recently, they halted a policy of separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

 

Workers at Amazon received the news from the American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU, which exposes Amazon of offering a product that “Can be readily used to violate civil liberties and civil rights.”

A product such as, Rekognition, which has the ability to be to able to analyze and recognize over a hundred people in one picture, all in real time.

 

“We don’t have to wait to find out how these technologies will be used. We already know that in the midst of historic militarization of police, renewed targeting of Black activists, and the growth of a federal deportation force currently engaged in human rights abuses — this will be another powerful tool for the surveillance state, and ultimately serve to harm the most marginalized,” said in the letter.

 

This past summer Amazon met with ICE in Silicon Valley to present its facial-recognition, powered by AI. In an official letter written by Amazon, they wrote: “We are ready and willing to support the vital (Homeland Security Investigations) mission.”

 

Amazon also lists those that have already invested in Rekognition, and among those are Orlando, Florida, and the Washington County Sheriff’s Department in Oregon. Both of which have already built a hefty database of mugshots with up to 300,000, all linked up to Rekognition, since 2017.     

 

Employees also demanded in the letter that Amazon needs to stop providing infrastructure to Plantir, a Silicon Valley database firm. According to the letter, this database helps ICE power its detention and deportation programs.

 

“In the face of this immoral U.S. policy, and the US’s increasingly inhumane treatment of refugees and immigrants beyond this specific policy, we are deeply concerned that Amazon is implicated, providing infrastructure and services that enable ICE and DHS.” stated the letter.

 

Amazon workers have been working with shareholders, civil rights groups and even concerned consumers to shed more light on the company’s doing.

Benzo has yet to release a statement addressing the problem.

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Nov. 20 print edition

 

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