On Monday, Amazon Web Services employees circulated an internal letter demanding that Amazon stop working with big data company Palantir and that it take a stand against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
On Thursday, immigration rights protesters blocked traffic and interrupted an AWS conference in New York City because of AWS’s ties with ICE.
Palantir runs its software on Amazon’s cloud, and has a $51 million contract with ICE.
A year ago, Amazon faced similar pressure from employees over its sales of facial recognition services to law enforcement, as well as its dealings with Palantir.
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On Monday, a group of Amazon employees sent out an internal email calling on Amazon to stop working with the big data company Palantir, which works with federal agency Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
This email, sent to employee mailing lists within Amazon Web Services, demanded that Palantir be removed from Amazon’s cloud for violating its terms of service. It also called on Amazon to take a stand against ICE by making a statement establishing its position against immigration raids, deportations, and camps for migrants at the border.
ICE is preparing to begin nationwide raids of undocumented families on Sunday, the New York Times reported. This operation had previously been postponed.
“The world is watching the abuses in ICE’s concentration camps unfold. We know that our company should, and can, do better,” the letter said.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Palantir, a prominent data analysis startup that counts several government agencies as customers, has a $51 million contract with ICE, which reports indicate entails providing software to gather data on undocumented immigrants’ employment information, phone records, immigration history, and similar information. Its software is hosted in the AWS cloud.
The letter alleges that this is a violation of the AWS terms of service, which states that “[a]ny activities that are illegal, that violate the rights of others, or that may be harmful to others, our operations or reputation” may be grounds to “suspend or terminate” use of our services.
The letter said that Palantir enables ICE to “violate the rights of others,” and working with the company is “harmful to our reputation.”
The employees say in the letter that their protest is in the spirit of similar action at companies including Wayfair, Microsoft, and Salesforce, where workers have protested their …read more
Source:: Business Insider