Protesters rally in Jeff Bezos masks over Amazon’s pitch of facial recognition tech to ICE


A group of protesters rallied at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters on Wednesday in response to reports that the tech company has sold its facial recognition technology to police and has been negotiating possible sales of the tech with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Gizmodo reports.

The Daily Beast reported last week on documents that revealed Amazon was in talks to sell its facial recognition technology,, called Rekognition, to ICE, raising concerns about how it could be used to target undocumented immigrants.

In response, Latinx rights group Mijente and Northwest Detention Center Resistance (NWDC) showed up Wednesday in front of the company’s headquarters sporting masks with the face of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. The organizations said on social media they were protesting the retail giant’s ongoing attempts to sell facial recognition software to law enforcement.

In an op-ed posted to Medium on Oct. 16, an anonymous employee stated that 450 Amazon employees issued a letter of concern to Bezos over Amazon’s sale of Rekognition to police and its cloud service contracts with the Department of Homeland Security.

“We know from history that new and powerful surveillance tools left unchecked in the hands of the state have been used to target people who have done nothing wrong; in the United States, a lack of public accountability already results in outsized impacts and over-policing of communities of color, immigrants, and people exercising their First Amendment rights,” the employee wrote.

The American Civil Liberties Union has previously criticized Amazon’s Rekognition program for its flaws and the potential harm of incorrectly identifying people as criminals.


H/T Gizmodo

Sunny Kim

Sunny Kim

Sunny Kim studies journalism at the University of Texas at Austin. She's an editorial intern with the Daily Dot. Her work has appeared in the Daily Texan and Popular Mechanics.