If you’ve been a regular reader of this site for any amount of time, you know that we have issues with government spying on everyday citizens. And it’s not just the NSA that is the only concern; it’s your local law enforcement, the FBI, and any number of other government agencies.
For the most part, opposition to this government intrusion into our everyday lives has been a groundswell of individual activists contacting their government representatives and using alternative media (yes, what the mainstream media calls “Fake News”) to get the word out. Fortunately, though, it appears that there are additional allies that privacy advocates like us didn’t previously know about, and their help is a welcome surprise. John Vibes gives us details about a new pro-privacy uprising:
Amazon is facing a potential revolt from a sizeable segment of their shareholders over their relationship with the government and law enforcement, specifically in regards to facial recognition technology.
CNNMoney reported this week that nearly 70 different groups of shareholders are putting pressure on Amazon to stop selling facial recognition technology to law enforcement. The Social Equity Group and Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment are among some of the groups who are making the push for Amazon to stop supplying law enforcement with technology that can be used against its customers and shareholders.
The technology in question is called “Rekognition,” facial recognition software that the company released in 2016 and sells to a number of clients, which are mostly law enforcement.
The shareholders have voiced their concerns that this technology could be used for mass surveillance and to allow police to spy on innocent people. They also expressed concern that Amazon’s involvement in this type of technology could negatively affect their stock price.
“We are concerned the technology would be used to unfairly and disproportionately target and surveil people of color, immigrants, and civil society organizations. We are concerned sales may be expanded to foreign governments, including authoritarian regimes,” the shareholders wrote in a joint statement.
This is fantastic news. Amazon, as you know is a business powerhouse with immense technological resources. If they abuse people’s privacy with this recognition technology, what are the long-term consequences? The answer is: likely not good.
Thankfully, these Amazon shareholders have some idea of how dangerous this technology is and are willing to put themselves on the line to try to prevent its use. I applaud them.
Hopefully, this is a sign of a growing grassroots revolt against government’s intrusion into our lives. For the sake of our children and grandchildren, we hope so, and we need to keep working to grow the revolution.