U.S. Markets closed

Amazon Employees Continue to Urge Company to Cut Ties With ICE

Say Contributor

A group of Amazon employees sent an internal letter urging the company to stop working with Palantir, which has contracts with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement federal agency. Get Off The Cloud Palantir has a $50 million contract to provide software to gather and store data on undocumented immigrants' employment information, phone records, and immigration history. Palantir's software is hosted by Amazon’s cloud computing web services, and many Amazon employees have a big problem with that. Violator The letter argues that Palantir and ICE are violating AWS’s terms of services. Specifically, those terms that state 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.” To put as fine a point on it as possible, the letter then states that Palantir helps ICE to "violate the rights of others," and working with the company is "harmful to our reputation."The letter went on to say the employees couldn’t stand the thought of having their work used to fuel human rights abuses, pointing to a recent congressional trip to an ICE-run detainee facility which was dangerously overcrowded and women were told to drink from the toilet. This letter has been part of an ongoing campaign, fueled in part by Twitter. Solidarity The letter also noted this protest was done in solidarity with other recent movements by tech companies, including an earlier push by Amazon employees to stop selling the facial recognition technology Rekognition to the police, Google employees pressuring the company to cancel a contract to artificial intelligence deal to the Pentagon and stalled attempts by Microsoft employees to also get the company to cut ties with ICE. Amazon wasn't responsive to the Amazon's shareholder proposals or employees' concerns, but employees, many of whom do have stake in the company, have kept up the pressure. -Michael Tedder Photo: Adobe