- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called out Amazon for posting a “bland statement” in support of George Floyd protesters while selling its technology to police departments and ICE.
- Amazon published a statement Friday that decried the “inequitable and brutal treatment of Black people in our country” but did not specifically mention police or law enforcement.
- Over 1,000 police departments across the US have partnerships with Ring, the doorbell security camera company owned by Amazon. Amazon also markets its facial recognition software to police departments and ICE.
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Last week, as protests over the death of George Floyd spread across the country, Amazon published a statement lamenting “inequitable and brutal treatment of Black people in our country.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was unconvinced.
“I see a lot of corporations releasing bland statements w a hashtag,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Wednesday, before calling out Amazon by name: “Amazon needs to stop integrating Ring cameras w/ police depts & selling facial recognition tech to ICE.”
—Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 3, 2020
An Amazon spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Over 1,000 police departments across the US have contracts with Ring, the doorbell security camera company owned by Amazon. Police can use Ring’s platform to directly request video footage recorded by Ring owners’ cameras, a practice that has angered civil liberties advocates.
Amazon also markets its facial recognition software, Rekognition, to law enforcement agencies including ICE, though ICE currently uses different facial recognition software. A sweeping federal study last year found that most facial recognition algorithms are up to 100 times more likely to misidentify Black people than white men, but Amazon didn’t make Rekognition available for that study and has pushed back on similar findings.
Ocasio-Cortez also slammed neighborhood watch app Nextdoor, which like Ring has faced allegations of fostering racist paranoia among users who have regularly used the platform to post photos of unknown or unwelcome people of color in their neighborhoods.
Nextdoor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.