MediaJustice

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Contact: Christina DiPasquale, [email protected], 202.716.1953

MediaJustice Finds 280+ New Amazon Police Partnerships Since George Floyd Killing, Launches Campaign for Black, Brown and Allied Holiday Shoppers to Sever Ties with Online Giant

“Break Up with Amazon” campaign and resource hub launched encouraging Amazon shoppers of color to organize against the retailer as its opaque and expanding partnerships with police endanger communities of color 

Today, ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, MediaJustice launched the “Break Up With Amazon” campaign to organize customers of color and activists to cut ties with the retail giant in support of Black lives. Protesting Amazon’s contributions to the evolution and expansion of digital policing, MediaJustice is sounding the alarm against Amazon Rekognition, racially-biased facial recognition software sold to law enforcement; Amazon Web Services, technology that powers surveillance, detention and deportations; and Amazon Ring doorbells, disproportionately criminalizing people of color. 

In a national moment of racial reckoning and uprisings against racist police violence, Ring data analyzed by MediaJustice reveals that Amazon has put in place more than 280 new partnerships with police departments since the murder of George Floyd, at an average rate of three a day. To date, Amazon has now armed more than 1,600 police departments with their Ring data which allows police to request, share, and keep front-door footage for as long as they choose, and Amazon Web Services continues to provide support to government and private entities to police, surveil, detain and deport in majority Black and Latinx communities. 

Said Myaisha Hayes, Campaign Strategies Director at MediaJustice:

“Since the murder of George Floyd at the hands of police, Amazon has only doubled-down to provide 1,600 police departments with sophisticated tools to surveil, racially profile and harm people of color—at an alarming rate of three new partnerships a day in 2020. We’re calling on online shoppers to ‘Break Up with Amazon’ this holiday season, because the tech giant has ignored the pain of our communities, turned their back on the call to stand up for Black lives, and chosen to deepen their role in growing racist and unjust systems of mass surveillance, mass incarceration and mass deportation.” 

The MediaJustice petition solicits names of Black-owned businesses for supporters to patronize instead of Amazon and reads, in part: 

“The uprisings have been heard loud and clear: we want a world beyond police. Each of us has a responsibility to usher in that new world by defending Black lives, and that responsibility includes divesting from the massive culture of racism, violence, and surveillance that uphold the police state status quo.”

MediaJustice has sounded the alarm on how Amazon’s Ring doorbell digitizes stop and frisk and legitimizes racial profiling, as people of color are criminalized and reported suspicious for simply walking by or delivering a package. Multiple analyses have found people of color are more likely to be depicted in Ring videos posted to the Neighbors app, where footage is shared with police departments with whom Amazon has partnerships. New analysis of a sampling of content posted to the Ring Neighbors app in San Francisco by Media Alliance and Oakland Privacy found most people (64%) captured in videos marked as “suspicious” were people of color, and Black men were overwhelmingly over-represented in videos posted to the app, appearing in one third of videos despite accounting for just 5.6% of San Francisco’s population. This analysis reiterates findings from a 2019 analysis by Motherboard which found the majority of people reported as “suspicious” in Ring videos were people of color.

The newly launched “Break Up with Amazon” online campaign hub provides resources for shoppers to understand the ways that Amazon betrays their lip service to Black lives and are pivotal to efforts to expand policing nationally and locally. This MediaJustice campaign is partnered with Mijente, Fight for the Future, MPower Change, the Surveillance Oversight Technology Project (STOP), Kairos, Media Alliance, Demand Progress, the Athena Coalition and the Action Center for Race and the Economy (ACRE). 

For interviews and questions: Christina DiPasquale, [email protected], 202.716.1953

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MediaJustice is dedicated to building a grassroots movement for a more just and participatory media—fighting for racial, economic, and gender justice in a digital age. MediaJustice boldly advances communication rights, access, and power for communities harmed by persistent dehumanization, discrimination and disadvantage. Home of the #MediaJusticeNetwork, comprised of more than 100 grassroots partners, we envision a future where everyone is connected, represented, and free.

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