Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos launched a tirade against the invasion of his privacy, last week, after the National Enquirer reportedly obtained private images of the billionaire. Bezos’ company Amazon, however, helped create the culture of invasion of privacy he now protests.
In a blog post, Thursday, Bezos’ claimed he was being blackmailed by the National Enquirer, and insinuated that both President Trump and Saudi Arabia were responsible.
“If Bezos were the political victim of surveillance state abuses, it would be scandalous and dangerous. It would also be deeply ironic,” declared the Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald on Friday. “That’s because Amazon, the company that has made Bezos the planet’s richest human being, is a critical partner for the U.S. Government in building an ever-more invasive, militarized and sprawling surveillance state.”
“Indeed, one of the largest components of Amazon’s business, and thus one of the most important sources of Bezos’ vast wealth and power, is working with the Pentagon and the NSA to empower the U.S. Government with more potent and more sophisticated weapons, including surveillance weapons,” Greenwald proclaimed, noting Amazon’s development of facial recognition software for governments.
The facial recognition software, known as Rekognition, has been shopped to various government agencies, despite it mistakenly identifying criminals on the FBI’s Most Wanted List as famous celebrities, and misidentifying 28 members of Congress as police suspects.
Amazon’s Alexa home assistant devices have also been criticized over a number of privacy issues.
Last year, Amazon accidentally granted a man access to another Alexa user’s 1,700 voice recordings, and he was able to download the entire library of recordings before Amazon responded and fixed the issue.
An Amazon Alexa-powered device also secretly recorded a family’s conversation before sending it to a stranger.
On top of these privacy issues, Amazon was listed as one of the companies involved in a secret data-sharing partnership with Facebook — which also faced a plethora of privacy scandals last year.
According to the New York Times, Facebook “permitted Amazon to obtain users’ names and contact information through their friends, and it let Yahoo view streams of friends’ posts as recently as this summer, despite public statements that it had stopped that type of sharing years earlier.”
Other Amazon privacy controversies have included giving employees at the Amazon-owned company Ring unrestricted access to security cameras in users’ homes, partnering with Marriott to put its home assistants in hotel rooms, releasing a home assistant for children despite privacy concerns, and patenting a wristband for warehouse employees which would track their movements and tell them where to go.
On Friday, Breitbart News’ Senior Editor-at-Large Peter Schweizer appeared on Fox News’ Ingraham Angle, where he claimed Bezos’ sudden concerns for privacy were “ironic.”
“I sympathize with Jeff Bezos, but I find it quite ironic that they’re raising privacy concerns, when the high-tech industry, primarily Google and Facebook, but also Amazon, pedal in selling our information and invading our privacy on a regular basis,” Schweizer remarked.