Grassroots organizations urge Amazon, Microsoft, and Google to stop selling facial recognition to government

Earlier this week, a national coalition of 84 other organizations led by ACLU of Northern California urged Microsoft, Amazon, and Google to exercise their untapped social responsibility to position people over profits by halting the sharing of their face surveillance technology to the government.

Private companies with incredible influence and power should not succumb to the lucrative transaction of selling groundbreaking facial recognition technology to the government; rather, heed the warnings of how powerful technology impacts people participating protests, attending places of worship, or simply living their daily lives. In the face of the current administration, these products can easily be leveraged as invasive tools for singling out immigrants, religious minorities, and people of color in our communities.

In Seattle, city departments have committed in 2017 to “incorporate racial equity principles into protocols for the use of surveillance technology to ensure that the technologies do not perpetuate institutionalized racism or race-based disparities.” However, if other levels of government are onlookers while members of over-policied and over-surveilled communities are violated – many of whom are loyal consumers of Google, Amazon, and Microsoft – then who else shares the weight of taking a moral and ethical stand to protect us?