Amazon’s Surveillance System Is a Global Risk to People of Color
If we are its consumers, then we are aiding White supremacy
Our consumption is linked to corporations. They frame our everyday lives, from where we post to where we shop. Their ubiquity lies in their ability to invisibly shape our lives in ways we do not comprehend. Take Amazon as an example—a corporation that, on the one hand, facilitates products being delivered to our homes and, on the other hand, through its cloud services, supports the policing and mass incarceration of Black and Brown refugees. At the U.S.-Mexico border, for example, Amazon aids ICE and Palantir in abducting people to be incarcerated.
The “cheap” costs of Amazon’s products are filtered down to the customer and to the company’s employees who distribute and deliver them. As consumers, we are supporting this company’s policies with our wallets. Amazon cements a fascist surveillance state by stealing what should be its facility workers’ equitable wages and investing in surveillance technologies by partnering with ICE and the police. By consorting with Amazon’s dragnet of surveillance, we are completely giving up our right to privacy, safety, and civil liberties.
Heard about Amazon’s Ring? A doorbell with a built-in camera, Ring is marketed as “a smarter way to protect your home.” Its commercials claim the product will reduce and deter package theft — especially when used with its extended feature, Neighbors, which allows you to share footage from your Ring camera with the whole neighborhood and the police. Amazon’s claims of reinventing home security are actually technological updates to the old model of classism and the racist police state. Ring renders safety as a commodity that can be purchased. It does not ensure security, but rather its illusion. A webcam device is not going to stop theft, fire, or flood from occurring at your home. In this market of purchased safety, class intersects with race to reproduce a gated White “secure” suburbia that is patrolled by the police.
Moreover, Amazon monetarily incentivizes its product for police departments. Each download of the Neighbors app comes with $10 off the $130 device, making it increasingly cheaper for police departments to purchase. The enthusiasm to offload the…