Nov 25, 2019

Civil rights groups push Congress to probe Amazon on privacy issues

Ina Fried, author of Login

A dozen civil rights groups are banding together in an effort to push federal lawmakers to investigate Amazon over its privacy practices.

The big picture: Amazon is already under pressure from antitrust investigations, and it's facing growing scrutiny on the privacy front amid revelations of Ring's work with police agencies as well as concerns about the company's Rekognition facial recognition software.

Who's involved: The participating groups complain that "surveillance is at the heart of Amazon’s monopolistic business model."

What they're saying:

  • 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. Meanwhile, Amazon gains access to video footage and sensitive audio recordings from millions more Americans and their families."
  • Jelani Drew, campaign manager at CREDO Action: "Amazon has too much access to our everyday lives and is relentlessly trying to gain more through surveillance technology. Amazon's Ring in particular is a perfect yet horrifying example of how Amazon, in partnership with law enforcement, is effectively making each and every one of our homes an extension of the police."
  • Gadeir Abbas, national senior litigation attorney at CAIR: "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."

Go deeper: What Amazon knows about you

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