More than 20 civil rights groups and 10,000 supporters protest to shut down Amazon’s surveillance empire

Posted June 10, 2021, 12:44 PM

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IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, June 10th
CONTACT: Evan Greer, press@fightforthefuture.org, 978-852-6457

June 10th marks the anniversary of Amazon’s initial one year temporary moratorium on the sale of Rekognition to law enforcement. Civil Rights group Fight for the Future has launched Protest Amazon, a digital protest calling on Amazon to permanently divest from surveillance technology and end relationships with law enforcement. Dozens of organizations—including MediaJustice, Public Citizen, Demand Progress, United for Respect, Free Press, and MPowerChange—and more than 10,000 people have joined the call to action. Today, Protest Amazon is inviting campaign supporters to submit a video of themselves reading the following statement: "Amazon’s surveillance empire fuels militarized policing. It needs to stop. We demand Amazon permanently divest from facial recognition technology and cut ties with police and ICE." An expanding gallery of protest videos can be found on the Protest Amazon website.

"Amazon is dragging us toward a world dominated by total corporate surveillance. They envision neighborhoods that are blanketed in devices that constantly monitor all of us: tracking our movements, analyzing our faces, listening to our conversations, monitoring our heartbeats, and harvesting our most intimate data for the sole purpose of expanding Amazon’s power and profit. Rather than permanently divesting from Rekognition and cutting ties with police and ICE, they prefer to do these performative press stunts in hopes of placating critics. The fact their facial recognition moratorium stands ‘until further notice’ demonstrates they don’t care about the dangers of the technology. And their latest Ring PR stunt does nothing to end partnerships or address the concerns raised by grassroots activists. It would be laughable if there weren’t lives at stake. Amazon’s surveillance dragnet of doorbell cameras, delivery cameras, and other surveillance infrastructure violates privacy, subverts basic civil rights, and fuels the same police violence that’s getting Black people killed," said Evan Greer (she/her), Director of Fight for the Future.

Protest Amazon is one of the many actions taking place during the #EyesOnAmazon week of action. Throughout this week, racial justice, worker advocacy, and civil rights groups have organized and taken part in digital actions and events to elevate the dangers resulting from Amazon’s surveillance empire. The coalition demands that it be immediately shut down.In the leadup to this week of action, Amazon made several changes to their Rekognition, Ring police partnerships, and rate/TOT policies. The organizations moved forward despite Amazon’s efforts, because while Amazon’s policy changes acknowledged the issues outlined in the #EyesOnAmazon campaign, they failed to address the harms at the core of their surveillance technology and partnerships—completely ignoring the campaign’s demands. "

At the end of the day, Amazon is being Amazon—profiting from the exploitation of our data, privacy violations, and the policing of Black and brown people in our communities. Amazon’s surveillance-driven police state is fundamentally incompatible with racial justice, civil rights, and democracy. This needs to end now. We need to shut down Amazon’s surveillance empire and make sure Congress holds Amazon accountable by launching a full investigation into their harmful, oppressive surveillance state," said Greer.

Fight for the Future is also running campaigns calling on federal lawmakers to investigate Amazon’s surveillance empire and pressuring local elected officials to shut down Amazon Ring’s surveillance partnerships with police.

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