back to article Anonymous Amazonian demands withdrawal of face-recog kit from sale

Seemingly annoyed at being ignored, an anonymous person claiming to be an Amazon employee has repeated demands for the online behemoth to stop selling its Rekognition product to American police agencies. In an anonymous letter posted on the Medium blogging site, the author – who claimed to be a current Amazon worker – alleges …

  1. TRT Silver badge

    You know, when you said Amazonian...

    I was expecting some interesting legal article about a remote tribe who believe that photographs imprison their souls.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You know, when you said Amazonian...

      I was hoping for a tribe of some scantily clad, horse riding women... which wold kill those trying to spy on them....

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: You know, when you said Amazonian...

        Good call. Can we have that article, please?

  2. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Exasperating

    No matter how long I live, I will never get used to the idea that people will knowingly assist those intent on harming others. In cases like this, that's likely to be harm to many millions of people - including those that engage in such assistance!

    1. oiseau Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Exasperating

      ... never get used to the idea that people will knowingly assist those intent on harming others.

      Indeed ...

      But it's been happening since the start of time.

      It's always been about and only about power and having more of it.

      First it was land, then it was money and now information, all of these = power.

      Now that we live in this 21st. century ultra-capitalist world with no borders it's become worse.

      And it will get much worse before things start to change.

      But by then the damage done will be undoable.

      Now I'll step off my box, put it under my arm and quietly go get myself an espresso.

      While I still can.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Exasperating

        Not so much ultra-capitalist as feudal-capitalist.

      2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

        Re: Exasperating

        Before land, it was people.

  3. Starace
    Flame

    If you don't like it then resign

    If you feel that strongly about it then leave. No one forces you to work for that immoral company.

    And try to get used to the fact that your personal feelings about something aren't so important that they override the decision of the rest of the company however many times you repeat them.

    1. NoneSuch
      Coat

      Re: If you don't like it then resign

      "If you don't like it then resign

      If you feel that strongly about it then leave. No one forces you to work for that immoral company.

      And try to get used to the fact that your personal feelings about something aren't so important that they override the decision of the rest of the company however many times you repeat them."

      A lot of decent people left Nazi Germany before WW2. That improved things, didn't it?

      1. Spanners Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: If you don't like it then resign

        So basically, if you dont like helping bad things to happen, you can go and starve?

        Anyone who can remember Sunday (Saturday or Friday) school will not remember being told to run away when people are doing wrong. I think it went something like "Don't join in and stop it happening."

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: If you don't like it then resign

        "A lot of decent people left Nazi Germany before WW2. That improved things, didn't it?"

        Given the contributions that a few of them made to the Allied war effort, I rather suspect it did make a difference. On the other hand, I'm not sure that all *that* many (in percentage terms) actually left.

        1. DCFusor Silver badge

          Re: If you don't like it then resign

          If you're a whiny loser, you should instead stay and gum up the works...there was also a bit of that in WWII IIRC...

      3. Nicked

        Re: If you don't like it then resign

        Working on software for the department of defence is exactly like being a rocket scientist for nazi germany, the list of similarities is endless..........

  4. ratfox Silver badge
    Devil

    Ha ha no

    Employee activism might be a thing at Google and Facebook, but Amazon (or say Apple) are not that kind of companies.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Amazon... Getting more like BB every day

    Is their no end to them and their pals slurping on us and our lives.

    Just say NO to Bezos.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The blog author isn't thinking much

    Righho, so we have anonymous letter (text parsing and grammar that can be evaluated).

    A claim to be a current Amazon employee

    A previous letter to management (more text, presumably anon)

    Some known or predictable political views

    Staff wiki contribution (presumably anon)

    I'd have thought any competent big data company could come up with a very short list of people who could be the author, and a bit of triangulation against in-house data, and the perp is unmasked, and finds themselves being escorted off the premises.

    Being anonymous in this day and age requires hard work, and the avoidance of repetitive behaviour, sadly.

  7. Someone Else Silver badge
    Big Brother

    "Why are we building this?" wails the letter's author. "We all have the right to go about our lives without being constantly monitored by the government."

    Or by mega-corporations like...ahem...Amazon. /me wonders how much said employee was willing to work on corporo-surveillance (oh, excuse me, I forgot to use the sanitized and politically correct term, "analytics").

  8. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Wrong target

    Even if successful, this will only stop Amazon from winning the contract to supply eager buyers with this kit. Worse, in a few years time this product will probably be something that a graduate student could throw together with standard libraries, commodity hardware and a big enough budget.

    The way to prevent everyone from being spied upon is to persuade your government not to do it. They, and only they, have the power to actually make that (not) happen.

    You can try to protect people in other jurisdictions by banning the creation of such kit, but other countries have clever people too so this is basically just stalling for time. In the long term, you need to either invade those countries and overthrow that government (a strategy which doesn't have a great track record in recent years but has worked in the past) or hope that the people there rise up and do the job for you (which has a slightly better track record, but you may have to wait a bit).

    1. DCFusor Silver badge

      Re: Wrong target

      Ken: This ^^^^

      You can't keep science/tech a secret for very long, or especially just one part - it all hangs together, which is one reason we like the scientific method.

      The whole fooforah around crypto - same issues. They'd have to make good crypto illegal to have their way at all. but then it'd be all too obvious about that police state thing.

      As you said, wrong target.

      Of course, human nature, which governments express often the worst parts of - doesn't change much either...even in revolts as in that old UK band the Who mentioned.

      "Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss". If your're lucky and don't get the French Revolution iterations instead.

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