Amazon

05 Jun 2020
Hours before OpenDemocracy filed suit to compel the UK government to release all the contracts governing its deals with a list of technology firms including Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Palantir, and Faculty, the UK government released the contracts. Faculty is being paid more than £1 million to
20 Apr 2020
To speed up daily temperature checks, Amazon has installed thermal cameras to screen workers for coronavirus symptoms in its warehouses around the world. Cases of COVID-19 have been reported at more than 50 of the company's US warehouses. Thermal cameras will also replace thermometers at staff
15 Mar 2020
US government agencies are considering a range of tracking and surveillance technologies as part of efforts to control the spread of the novel coronavirus. These include: geolocation tracking and facial recognition systems to analyse photos, both to enable contact tracing. Palantir is working with
21 Nov 2019
Recent study shows that Americans are wary of data from smart speakers being used in criminal investigations, the Pew Research Center reported. A recent study showed that 49% of Americans answered that it is unacceptable for smart speakers companies to share audio recordings of their customers with
01 Nov 2019
A woman was killed by a spear to the chest at her home in Hallandale Beache, Florida, north of Miami, in July. Witness "Alexa" has been called yet another time to give evidence and solve the mystery. The police is hoping that the smart assistance Amazon Echo, known as Alexa, was accidentally
In October 2018, the answers to a FOIA request filed by the Project on Government Oversight revealed that in June 2018 Amazon pitched its Rekognition facial recognition system to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials as a way to help them target or identify immigrants. Amazon has also
17 Jul 2009
In 2009, Amazon Kindle readers were surprised to find that their copies of George Orwell’s 1984 was missing from their devices. Amazon had remotely deleted these copies after it found out from the publisher that the third-party vendor selling them did not own the rights to the books. Amazon refunded
10 Oct 2018
From 2014 to early 2017, Amazon used an artificial intelligence (AI) hiring tool to review prospective employees’ resumes and select qualified candidates, based on Amazon’s previous hiring decisions from a ten-year period; however, the tool was much more effective at simply selecting male candidates
26 Jul 2018
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) used Rekognition, Amazon’s facial recognition software, to compare images of US lawmakers to a publicly available database of 25,000 mugshot photos. The ACLU’s study validated research that has shown that facial recognition technology is more likely to
16 Oct 2018
More than 450 Amazon employees delivered a letter to Jeff Bezos and other Amazon executives, demanding that the company immediately stop selling facial recognition software to law enforcement, sever connections to companies like Palantir that help immigration authorities track and deport immigrants
22 May 2019
Amazon shareholders rejected two non-binding proposals governing its facial recognition software, Rekognition: one would have limited sales of Rekognition to governments, unless a board determined that such sales would not violate peoples’ rights, and the other was to study the extent to which
20 Dec 2018
Millions of people own smart home devices like the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot—equipped with the Alex cloud-based artificial intelligence service—which have concerning implications for privacy rights. While, Amazon’s own policies promise that only the user and Amazon will listen to what those devices
14 Feb 2019
In 2016, Jamie Siminoff, the CEO of the miniature security camera company Ring, emailed his employees information them that the company would adopt a new mission to fight crime by using consumer electronics. The company, which Amazon acquired in 2018, sells its cameras with a social app, "Neighbors"
10 Jan 2019
The miniature security camera maker Ring, which was acquired by Amazon in 2017 for a reported $1 billion, has a history of inadequate oversight of the data collected by those cameras on behalf of its customers. In 2016, it reportedly granted virtually unlimited access to its Ukraine-based research
14 Feb 2019
Similar to the European Commission’s investigation and the stand-alone German and Italian investigations into Amazon’s anti-competitive behaviour, Austria is now investigating whether Amazon is exploiting its market dominance in relation to other retailers that use its website as a marketplace. The
01 Apr 2019
The European Commission, EU’s antitrust watchdog, is nearing a decision on its investigation into Amazon. According to a report in Seeking Alpha, EU Competition Chief Margrethe Vestager said the Commission gathered “a lot of data” in its investigation into Amazon. The report noted the EU sent out 1
16 Apr 2019
On April 16th 2019, Italy’s antitrust authority said that it had launched a probe into five Amazon companies for possible abuse of dominant market position in e-commerce and logistical services. The companies being looked into include Amazon Services Europe, Amazon Europe Core, Amazon EU, Amazon
21 Sep 2018
Reports that Amazon is planning on launching a free ad-supported music service caused Spotify’s (the Swedish audio streaming platform) shares to fall 4% on Monday, April 15th. And, on April 18th, Amazon published a blog post where it announced that launch of Amazon’s free music-streaming service in
19 Sep 2018
In September 2018, EU’s antitrust watchdog, the European Commission, launched a preliminary investigation into how the platform uses data about merchants. Margrethe Vestager, EU Competition Commissioner said that the informal probe concerns the e-commerce group’s dual role as a competitor while
31 May 2018
Amazon has been accused of treating its UK warehouse staff like robots. Between 2015 and 2018, ambulances were called out close to 600 times to Amazon’s UK warehouses. A Freedom of Information request to ambulance services from the GMB union revealed 115 call-outs to Amazon’s site in Rugeley, near
10 Apr 2019
An investigation by Bloomberg, disclosed that thousands of Amazon employees around the world are listening in on Amazon Echo users.
14 Nov 2018
In yet another murder case, a New Hampshire judge ordered Amazon to turn over two days of Amazon Echo recordings in a double murder case in November 2018. Prosecutors believe that recordings from an Amazon Echo in the Farmington home where two women were murdered in January 2017 may yield further
02 Dec 2017
In 2015, James Bates (of Arkansas, United States) was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Victor Collins. Collins was found floating face down in Bates’ hot tub in November 2015, police said. Amazon Echo entered the murder case because someone present on the night of Collins’ death
Long Read
Last week, an investigation by Bloomberg revealed that thousands of Amazon employees around the world are listening in on Amazon Echo users. As we have been explaining across media, we believe that by using default settings and vague privacy policies which allow Amazon employees to listen in on the
26 Dec 2018
A startling amount of the internet is fake in one way or another, studies found in 2018. Less than 60% of web traffic is human; a 2013 study found that at least half of YouTube traffic was bots masquerading as people; in November 2018 the US Justice Department revealed that eight people were accused
14 Aug 2018
In August 2018 Amazon rolled out a software update to Fire OS 5, the operating system used by older versions of its Fire TV and Fire TV Stick devices to counteract malware. At risk were versions of the devices before the company released Fire OS 6 whose owners had turned on Android Debug Bridge in
22 May 2018
In May 2018, the ACLU of Northern California obtained documents under a FOIA request showing that Amazon was essentially giving away its two-year-old Rekognition facial recognition tools to law enforcement agencies in Oregon and Orlando, Florida. Amazon defended the move by saying the technology has
12 Jul 2018
In July 2018 Walmart filed a patent on a system of sensors that would gather conversations between cashiers and customers, the rattle of bags, and other audio data to monitor employee performance. Earlier in 2018, Amazon was awarded a patent on a wristaband that would monitor and guide workers in
05 Jun 2018
In June 2018, after privacy activists found security flaws in toys such as My Friend Cayla and others and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission opened an investigation into the problems of connected gadgets, Amazon, Walmart, and Target announced they would stop selling CloudPets. Made by Spiral
10 May 2018
In May 2018, researchers in the US and China demonstrated that they could send commands that activate Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, and Google Assistant but that are inaudible to the human ear. The researchers were able to make smartphones and smart speakers dial phone numbers and open websites; the
09 Oct 2018
In October 2018 Amazon patented a new version of its Alexa virtual assistant that would analyse speech to identify signs of illness or emotion and offer to sell remedies. The patent also envisions using the technology to target ads. Although the company may never exploit the patent, the NHS had
01 Feb 2018
Amazon, which is already known for closely monitoring its warehouse workers has been granted two US patents on a wristband that could use ultrasonic sound pujlses and radio transmissions track a worker's every move, pause, or fidget, and vibrate to provide haptic feedback to nudge them when they
20 Dec 2017
Research from ProPublica in December 2017 found that dozens of companies, including Verizon, Amazon, and Target are using Facebook to target job ads to exclude older workers. Excluding older workers is illegal under US law, but Facebook's system allows advertisers to specify precisely who should see
15 Jun 2017
In 2017, Amazon was granted a patent has been granted a patent, first filed in 2012, on a mechanism that allows retailers to intercept network requests such as URLs and search terms on in-store wifi and either block shoppers from conducting online price comparisons or offer them discount coupons or