Amazon employees are protesting to stop the sale of Company’s “Rekognition facial recognition” software to law enforcement people. For this purpose, the workers have written a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to end business of two particular software one is facial recognition software and the other is AWS cloud services to Palantir (a data analytics company which provides software to ICE). It seems like every tech giant is facing extreme conditions by their employee’s perturbed behavior.
The Employees main concern is trump administration policy “Zero tolerance” at the U.S border, which is causing separation of thousands of people especially children from their parents.
“Our company should not be in the surveillance business; we should not be in the policing business; we should not be in the business of supporting those who monitor and oppress marginalized populations,”
“We refuse to build the platform that powers ICE, and we refuse to contribute to tools that violate human rights. As ethically concerned Amazonians, we demand a choice in what we build, and a say in how it is used,” states the Complaint letter of Amazon employees, The hills.
In May, American Civil liberties Union (ACLU) did an investigation which revealed that Amazon heavily marketed its rekognition software to government agencies and the police department. The recognition software can track personal data and detect faces in real time after the implementation of this software ACLU comprehend that such a powerful surveillance technology could be easily misused by government agencies.
“Along with much of the world we watched in horror recently as U.S. authorities tore children away from their parents. In the face of this immoral U.S. policy, and the U.S.’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,” the letter states.
Earlier this week, Amazon shareholders said the company to stop selling software after that, the motive was also spread among the employees. The previous month, Google employees filed a petition against Google AI technology contract with Pentagon to build AI-powered tool that can analyze drone surveillance footage then Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene suspended company’s contract for project Maven.
“We refuse to build the platform that powers ICE, and we refuse to contribute to tools that violate human rights, said the employeers in the letter.”
We don’t know whether the protest will have the same impact as the employee activism campaign at Google had turned out. But the support which Amazon employees are showing means that they are willing to speak against the wrong and considered themselves as equally responsible if they won’t speak up against unethical work.