Workers criticize Amazon's response to protests due to its work with law enforcement

The retailer's statement against racism and injustice isn't sitting well with everyone.

Erin Carson Former Senior Writer
Erin Carson covered internet culture, online dating and the weird ways tech and science are changing your life.
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  • She has a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.
Erin Carson
2 min read

Amazon is drawing a fresh round of critiques over its sale of Rekognition software to police. 

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Some Amazon employees are accusing their company of hypocrisy after the tech giant tweeted a statement condemning the treatment of black people in the US.

Amazon released a statement Sunday to protest George Floyd's death last week in police custody. "Together we stand in solidarity with the Black community ... in the fight against systemic racism and injustice," Amazon's tweeted statement read in part.

On Tuesday, however, the Twitter account @WeWontBuildIt, which describes itself as "Amazon workers calling for accountability and transparency in the tech we build," questioned the company's words in light of its actions.

"Which police contracts have you cut? How many remain?" the account tweeted.

Amazon has faced criticism for licensing its Rekognition facial-recognition software to law enforcement agencies. The criticism has come from civil liberties groups and experts in artificial intelligence who have asked the company to stop selling the software to police. They fear the software could be abused and used to target people of color, immigrants, religious minorities and other groups.

The American Civil Liberties Union tweeted a similar response to @WeWontBuildIt's: "Cool tweet. Will you commit to stop selling face recognition surveillance technology that supercharges police abuse?"

Amazon and @WeWontBuildIt didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The company's statement came amid nationwide protests over police brutality. Floyd died on May 25 in Minneapolis after now-fired Police Officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. Since Floyd's death, many companies and organizations have offered support and funding to fight police brutality and racial injustice.