Civil Rights Groups Demand Congress Investigate Amazon’s ‘Surveillance Empire’
Fifteen civil rights teams introduced a big marketing campaign on Monday calling on Congress to analyze how Amazon and its house surveillance corporate Ring violate civil liberties, specifically thru partnerships with regulation enforcement.
Last week, senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ed Markey (D-MA), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Chris Coons (D-DE) wrote a letter to Jeff Bezos wondering how Amazon protects Ring’s safety information and whether or not its surveillance machine will also be hacked via international governments or different 3rd events. The senators’ letter was once a reaction to Senator Markey’s fresh inquiry into how Amazon protects information amassed from Ring’s digital doorbells. Last week, Markey revealed the inquiry’s findings—which incorporated, for instance, that Ring has no insurance policies about how lengthy police can stay pictures—expressing sturdy fear that “Amazon Ring’s policies are an open door for privacy and civil liberty violations.”
Now, civil rights teams (together with Fight for the Future, Media Justice, Color of Change, CREDO Action, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations-SFBA) are insisting that Congress release a deeper investigation. This week, the teams will use their networks to name and electronic mail legislators highlighting the risks that Ring’s partnerships with over 400 police departments within the United States pose to black and brown communities susceptible to surveillance.
Part of the marketing campaign’s goal is to have shoppers think carefully prior to they acquire Ring merchandise throughout the vacations, mentioned Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future.
“During this holiday season, people are going to buy Amazon’s product unaware of the surveillance features and the threats they pose to their personal data and civil liberties,” Greer mentioned. “At this point, lawmakers need to escalate the investigation and hold hearings demanding answers and accountability from Amazon when it comes to their surveillance empire and monopolistic business practices.”
As reported via Motherboard, racial profiling is prevalent on Ring’s community watch app Neighbors. Our investigation of user-submitted posts inside a 5 mile radius of the VICE’s Brooklyn workplaces discovered that the vast majority of other folks reported as “suspicious” had been other folks of colour. Ring additionally tells police persuade other folks to proportion their digital camera pictures with police departments.
Beyond Ring’s warrantless mass surveillance of hundreds of thousands of American houses and neighborhoods, the organizations not easy an investigation are interested in how Amazon’s Alexa information conversations, and the way the corporate’s facial popularity generation identifies and tracks the actions of other folks in prone communities.
“Amazon’s ever-expanding surveillance empire threatens our privacy and civil liberties, especially in brown and black communities already vulnerable to racial profiling and heightened surveillance,” the teams say.
“Amazon devices are in our homes listening to our most intimate conversations and affixed to front doors where they create an in-real-time record of all that happens in our neighborhoods,” mentioned CAIR National Senior Litigation Attorney Gadeir Abbas. “This pervasiveness, combined with Amazon’s privacy-averse disposition, creates an unprecedented threat to the civil liberties of all Americans.”
Amazon and Ring didn’t straight away reply to a request for remark.