Civil Rights Groups Launch Investigate Amazon Campaign

More than a dozen civil rights groups have launched what they called a "major" campaign to gete Congress to investigate Amazon. 

That came in the wake of a letter from Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) following Markey's release of an investigation into the company's Ring internet-connected doorbell--Markey provided a ringing denunciation of Amazon's privacy policies and civil rights protections--or lack of them. 

Branding it a "nationwide suveillance network," the groups said they would flood lawmakers with calls and e-mails from their millions of members. 

Participating in the campaign are Fight for the Future, Media Justice, Color of Change, CREDO Action, Demand Progress, Constitutional Alliance, The Tor Project, MPower Change, Secure Justice, Council on American-Islamic Relations-SFBA, Nation Digital Inclusion Alliance, Justice For Muslims Collective, Restore The Fourth Inc., New York Communities for Change, Media Alliance, X-Lab, and Media Mobilizing Project. 

The groups called Ring "one of the most egregious examples of their surveillance empire," but also have issues with Alexa's recording of conversations, its Rekognition facial tracking, and more. 

“Ring users place their trust in us to help protect their homes and communities, and we take that responsibility very seriously," said a Ring spokesperson. "Ring does not own or otherwise control users’ videos, and we intentionally designed the Neighbors Portal to ensure that users get to decide whether or not to voluntarily provide their videos to the police.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.