More than 450 Amazon employees have now signed a letter originally addressed to CEO Jeff Bezos and other senior executives in June asking Amazon Web Services to stop selling its Rekognition image and video cloud service to police departments.
An anonymous employee posted an essay on Medium Tuesday outlining the group’s case, which also calls on AWS to boot Palantir, the secretive data analysis company, from its services. Medium editors said they verified the author’s identity and authenticity of the post, and also published their own interview with the employee.
“Companies like ours should not be in the business of facilitating authoritarian surveillance. Not now, not ever,” wrote the anonymous author, who cited employee protests at Google and Microsoft over their work with government and military contracts as inspiration. Rekognition, which allows users to analyze images and video for the purposes of facial recognition, has been under fire for months after two police departments in Oregon and Florida talked about the work they were doing with the service.
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