This site is a hub for sharing resources on the tech industry’s lucrative contracts with the U.S. government and law enforcement agencies, and the use of cloud networking and surveillance technologies by ICE and police. Suggestions for reading, media, resources, or actions are welcome.
A fascinating study in the NYU Review of Law and Social Change. by CUNY Law Professor Sarah Lamdan on the ethical complications for lawyers when the research vendors they use are sharing data with ICE and law enforcement.
The Urban Justice Center’s STOP is working on multiple fronts to monitor, litigate, and push for legislation protecting New Yorkers from discriminatory surveillance technologies. You can read about pending legislation on their site, and call your representatives to press them to support these bills. Follow their video web series #SidewalkSurveillance
This site is a hub for sharing resources on the tech industry’s lucrative contracts with the U.S. government and law enforcement agencies, and the use of cloud networking and surveillance technologies by ICE and police.
Amazon is the largest cloud services contractor for the Department of Homeland Security (which includes ICE), and is migrating the agency’s $6.8 billion IT portfolio to their cloud storage center. Amazon has more federal authorizations to work with governmental agencies than any other tech company, by a wide margin. Working alongside partners like Palantir (co-founded by Trump advisor Peter Thiel) and COPLINK, Amazon Web Services (AWS) GovCloud is at the pinnacle of the “Cloud Industrial Complex,” a network of private-public partnerships orchestrated by tech executives, lobbyists, and federal legislators. This network enables the storage, searching, and sharing of biometric and personal data on hundreds of millions of individuals. Using these services, ICE and other agencies can identify “targets” for arrest or deportation with increased speed (despite documented problems with accuracy and racial bias). Amazon’s AWS contracts are staggeringly profitable. They are currently favored to win the Department of Defense JEDI Cloud contract, worth $10 billion, placing them in sole control of the data for the entire agency.
Amazon also produces Rekognition, facial recognition software actively marketed to law enforcement and ICE. As has been proven with many facial recognition technologies, Rekognition has difficulty accurately identifying people of color. Yet the technology has been adopted by several law enforcement agencies, and is used in conjunction with other predictive analytics that compound racial bias. The fact that these technologies are being used in life-or-death law enforcement contexts, and that Amazon has refused to acknowledge the ethical concerns of their own employees, is unconscionable.*
Amazon facilitates and profits from the surveillance of immigrants, communities of color, and other targeted groups. They facilitate and profit from the sharing of our personal and biometric data. As New Yorkers, we join our neighbors in condemning the deceptive “deal” to build a new Amazon campus in New York City.
No “deal” can justify Amazon’s unethical practices. Resist AmazonHQ2, with no negotiations and no concessions. Boycott Amazon.