Will Oremus @WillOremus oh-REE-mus. Senior writer for OneZero at @medium: onezero.medium.com/ Previously: @slate. I write about how tech shapes us. DM for Signal. Jun. 27, 2019 2 min read

While Facebook and Google get all the privacy scrutiny, Amazon is quietly building the infrastructure for a truly Orwellian surveillance state.

My deep dive into Ring, Rekognition, and why one big tech company seems to get more of a pass than the others.  https://onezero.medium.com/amazon-is-watching-d51b20f1668a 

In survey after survey, Amazon ranks as America's most-loved and most-trusted company. That might help to explain why, at a time when other tech firms are scrambling to "pivot to privacy," Amazon has been able to expand dramatically into surveillance and government intelligence.

What Amazon is already doing should worry us. What it's thinking of doing in the years to come is the stuff of dystopian science fiction.  https://onezero.medium.com/amazon-is-watching-d51b20f1668a 

It's remarkable how consistently Amazon execs have downplayed privacy concerns, insisted that surveillance and race recognition technology is value-neutral, and disclaimed any responsibility for its possible misuse to oppress or discriminate.  https://onezero.medium.com/amazon-is-watching-d51b20f1668a 

And of course the tone is being set at the very top. Amazon chief Jeff Bezos might be the last of the big tech CEOs to still publicly espouse the view that tech is value-neutral and companies aren't responsible when it's used for evil.

Hope you can forgive the tweetstorm. The story is 5k words so I’m trying to get some key parts out there for those who might be interested but don’t have time to dive in. And I worked on it for a long time so I’ve been saving this up.

And if you *are* interested in the unintended consequences of Amazon’s surveillance apparatus, you should also read this fascinating investigation by @annamerlan & @dmehro into how Rekognition systematically misgenders trans and nonbinary people.  https://jezebel.com/amazons-facial-analysis-program-is-building-a-dystopic-1835075450 

Bloomberg reports today that Amazon is working on a wearable Alexa that can read human emotions 👀  https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-23/amazon-is-working-on-a-wearable-device-that-reads-human-emotions 

In an elaborate PR stunt, Amazon worked with police and federal agents to coordinate a sting on package thieves using Ring surveillance cams. But nobody tried to steal any packages so they just wasted everyone's time and taxpayers' money ¯\_(ツ)_/¯  https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/43jmnq/how-amazon-and-the-cops-set-up-elaborate-sting-operation-that-accomplished-nothing 

Amazon's Ring doorbell is on a big Prime Day discount, and comes with a top endorsement from @wirecutter. But if you're thinking of buying it, I hope you stop and think for a minute about the kind of society you'd be helping to build.

A new map shows all the places where police have partnered with Amazon's Ring to encourage residents to share footage from their doorbell cameras.  https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/daveyalba/a-new-map-shows-all-the-places-where-police-have-partnered  via @daveyalba

The one silver lining to Amazon's Ring working with police departments all over the country is that basically all of their communications are FOIA-able as public records and thus we get an endless parade of daily scoops like this one.  https://gizmodo.com/everything-cops-say-about-amazons-ring-is-scripted-or-a-1836812538 

A California assemblywoman has been working hard to weaken the state's privacy law. Turns out her husband is the COO of Amazon's Ring.  https://www.politico.com/story/2019/09/15/california-tech-privacy-ring-1496125 


You can follow @WillOremus.



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