Get Ready, Amazon Delivery Drones Coming ‘Within Months’


07-06-19 07:08:00,

Amazon announced this week that they will begin delivering packages to customers using drones within months, according to the Financial Times 

Unveiled at a presentation during the robotics and space conference in Las Vegas (Re:Mars), Amazon’s electric delivery drone has a range of 15 miles and can deliver packages weighing up to five pounds to customers in under 30 minutes – which accounts for 75-90% of Amazon’s consumer deliveries, according to Jeff Wilke, head of Amazon’s consumer business.

“You’re going to see this new drone delivering packages to customers in months,” said Wilke, without elaborating. 

“With the help of our world-class fulfillment and delivery network, we expect to scale Prime Air both quickly and efficiently, delivering packages via drone to customers within months,: Wilke said in a blog post that accompanied the conference announcement. 

Drones will join an expanding fleet of Amazon’s delivery formats as the company takes greater control over its sprawling logistics network and looks to get items to customers more quickly and cheaply. In recent years it has invested in freight trailers, cargo planes and delivery vans, built out an extensive network of delivery hubs, and begun to experiment with autonomous vehicles for deliveries.

Earlier this year Amazon pledged to spend $800m in the second quarter cutting shipping times to one day for members of its Prime subscription programme in the US. –Financial Times

Amazon’s drone delivery program has been public knowledge since 2013, while the company tested its first delivery in a rural corner of England in December, 2016. It took 13 minutes from order to delivery, and had a similar 5 lb maximum constraint – which was quoted as constituting 87% of items sold. 

The company’s new hexagonal drone takes off vertically but can fly like an airplane, which Business Insider likened to a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter jet. 

The drone can detect obstacles such as wires, chimneys and paragliders in real time – and can avoid them “using machine learning and advanced artificial intelligence,” according to Business Insider. 

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CREEPY: Amazon and Facebook Both Want To Read Human Emotions


03-06-19 08:11:00,

By Aaron Kesel

Facebook and Amazon’s insanity only seems to continue with no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Now, the two big conglomerate giants want to move into the uncharted territory of reading human emotions, both in their own ways.

Facebook wants a robot that has five senses which can read human emotions. Facebook wants “emotionally sensitive” robots that can explore the world, identify objects and people and enable its users to make more friends, Dailymail reported.

The robots would be fitted with wheels or tank-like caterpillar treads that would allow them to trundle about their environment.

Alternatively, such robots could be fitted out with drive systems that would allow them to move around underwater, fly through the air or float in space, Facebook suggest in their patent.

I am not sure why anyone would trust Facebook with data ever again, let alone biometric data, after all the numerous scandals Activist Post has documented including data mining. But to each their own I guess.

Amazon is also looking into reading human emotions in a completely different way by utilizing a voice-activated wearable device, that will sense its wearer’s state of mind by the tone of voice, Bloomberg reported.

[READ: “The Creepy Study” – Surveillance Cameras Analyze Emotions]

It’s worth noting that both companies have a smart home device, and after reading this you should fear what information is being gathered by the cameras and microphones attached to those electronics … besides the typically targeted advertising to turn consumers into the product.

On the Amazon front, it seems more than likely the company will want to use this technology in a variety of different digital gadgets, ranging from personal assistants such as Alexa to new technologies that the retail giant is currently developing. Amazon has announced it’s developing a personal assistance robot, so the new emotional technology could easily be integrated into this at-home robot as a means to “serve the consumer better.” A horrifically terrifying thought indeed.

Amazon and Facebook aren’t the only companies looking into utilizing human emotions.

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Only 2% of Amazon shareholders vote against giving facial recognition to government


25-05-19 08:06:00,

Amazon shareholders voted almost unanimously to reject a proposal to stop selling facial recognition tech to government agencies, and even a study of its effects garnered little support, effectively green-lighting Big Brother.

The proposal to stop selling Amazon’s ‘Rekognition’ program to authorities was rejected by 97.6 percent of the company’s shareholders, according to a regulatory filing released on Friday, while a proposal to study Rekognition’s negative impact on civil rights and privacy repulsed 72.5 percent. CEO Jeff Bezos, who controls 16 percent of the company’s stock, voted against both, and Amazon’s board condemned them.

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Climate change was more popular, with only 70.2 percent rejecting a proposal for the company to issue a report on how it would address the phenomenon.

Last month, the Securities and Exchange Commission ruled Amazon had to vote on both facial recognition proposals at its annual meeting after they were brought forward by activist shareholders concerned the company was selling a surveillance system “readily available to violate rights and target communities of color.” The company had argued the proposals were “insignificant to its business,” but was overruled by the regulator.

A group of “socially responsible investors” holding shares in Amazon implored the company to stop selling the tech to law enforcement last year, citing both the potential for abuse by American authorities and fears the tech could end up in the hands of foreign governments, “including authoritarian regimes.”

The shareholders joined hundreds of Amazon employees, the American Civil Liberties Union, and at least 70 more civil rights groups in writing several letters to Bezos asking that Amazon cease sales of Rekognition to law enforcement. The employee letter singled out the potential for abuse by the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration & Customs Enforcement as cause for particular concern, while the ACLU pointed to Amazon’s own marketing materials, which tout Rekognition’s ability to monitor “people of interest” in real time, as “primed for abuse in the hands of governments.”

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Amazon Developing Device That Can Recognize Human Emotions


23-05-19 06:47:00,

Amazon is developing a voice-activated gadget that can recognize human emotions. 

The wrist-worn device is described as a health and wellness product according to internal documents reviewed by Bloomberg, which is being developed in partnership with Lab126, the group behind Amazon’s Fire phone and Echo smart speaker. The Alexa voice software team is also involved. 

Designed to work with a smartphone app, the device has microphones paired with software that can discern the wearer’s emotional state from the sound of his or her voice, according to the documents and a person familiar with the program. Eventually the technology could be able to advise the wearer how to interact more effectively with others, the documents show. –Bloomberg

It is unknown how far along the project is, or if the device code-named “Dylan” will ever be brought to market – however work on the project was ongoing recently according to the documents as well as Bloomberg’s source. It is currently being beta tested, though “it’s unclear whether the trial includes prototype hardware, the emotion-detecting software, or both,” according to the report. 

Machines that can understand human emotion has been a longtime theme in science fiction – from Star Trek’s Data, to ‘Mike’ from Robert Heinlein’s 1966 The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress

And now, once again, science fiction may become reality, as companies such as Microsoft, Google and IBM – and many others – are developing technologies to decipher emotional states from imagery, audio data and other inputs. Amazon, for example, has discussed a desire to build a more lifelike voice assistant – a technology which could help the company better serve health needs, and of course, better advertise. 

As Bloomberg noted last month, Amazon has a team of employees listening in on and annotating audio clips captured by the company’s popular Echo line of voice-activated products. 

A U.S. patent filed in 2017 describes a system in which voice software uses analysis of vocal patterns to determine how a user is feeling, discerning among “joy, anger, sorrow, sadness, fear, disgust, boredom, stress, or other emotional states.” The patent,

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Amazon Rolling Out Automated Packing Machines 5X Faster Than Humans


14-05-19 08:14:00,

Amazon has been rolling out machines which automatically scans goods coming down a conveyer belt and boxes them for shipping, according to an exclusive report by Reuters, citing two people who worked on the project.  

The ‘latest and greatest’ in automation will replace thousands of workers. After installing the technology in a “handful of warehouses,” the company has considered installing the machines at dozens more – replacing at least 24 workers each at facilities which typically employ more than 2,000 people. 

The new machines, known as the CartonWrap from Italian firm CMC Srl, pack much faster than humans. They crank out 600 to 700 boxes per hour, or four to five times the rate of a human packer, the sources said. The machines require one person to load customer orders, another to stock cardboard and glue and a technician to fix jams on occasion. –Reuters

Deployed across 55 US fulfillment centers for standard-sized inventory, this would mean more than 1,300 jobs gone, while Amazon would recover the cost of the program in less than two years at $1 million per machine plus operational expenses. 

The plan, previously unreported, shows how Amazon is pushing to reduce labor and boost profits as automation of the most common warehouse task – picking up an item – is still beyond its reach. The changes are not finalized because vetting technology before a major deployment can take a long time. –Reuters


“We are piloting this new technology with the goal of increasing safety, speeding up delivery times and adding efficiency across our network,” said an Amazon spokeswoman in a statement to Reuters. “We expect the efficiency savings will be re-invested in new services for customers, where new jobs will continue to be created.” 

Last month Amazon tried to downplay steps towards automation taken at its Baltimore fulfillment center, telling worried employees that a fully robotic future was far off. 

A key to its goal of a leaner workforce is attrition, one of the sources said. Rather than lay off workers, the person said, the world’s largest online retailer will one day refrain from refilling packing roles.

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Amazon’s kid-friendly Echo Dot is ‘blatant violation’ of child privacy laws, investigation finds


09-05-19 01:52:00,

An investigation into Amazon’s ‘Echo’ device for kids has revealed alarming details about its operations, including that the tech company keeps children’s sensitive data even after parents try to delete it.

Research into Amazon’s Echo Dot Kids Edition, carried out by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) and the Institute for Public Representation (IPR) at Georgetown Law, found “blatant violations” of children’s privacy laws and the illegal collection of their data.

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The CCFC, who published their findings on Thursday, are now calling on the FTC to investigate and sanction Amazon “because parents, not Jeff Bezos, should be in charge of children’s data.”

The Echo Dot Kids is the child version of Amazon’s ‘home assistant’ speaker device, which records and stores information from its users. The technology uses machine learning to help train the system’s AI and understand its owner better through their requests.

READ MORE: Alexa, what’s my neighbor doing? ‘Human error’ allows user to eavesdrop on stranger’s life

The group investigating the family-friendly version of the device released video footage demonstrating their attempts to delete sensitive data.

Amazon markets Echo Dot Kids as a device to educate and entertain kids, but the real purpose is to amass a treasure trove of sensitive data that it refuses to relinquish even when directed to by parents,” said Josh Golin, CCFC’s Executive Director.

Golin went on to claim that Amazon are in clear violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and called on the FTC to hold the company accountable for “blatantly violating children’s privacy law and putting kids at risk.”

READ MORE: Alexa, is that you? Amazon exposes user data in mystery breach, issues creepy non-explanation

Amazon spokeswoman Kinley Pearsall said the Echo Dot Kids Edition is “compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act,” but failed to address any of the specific issues raised in the complaint,

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Amazon: Algorithmen entscheiden, wer entlassen wird


04-05-19 09:21:00,

Amazon-Gründer und -Präsident Jeff Bezos ist der reichste Mann der Welt. (Foto: dpa)

Amazon-Gründer und -Präsident Jeff Bezos ist der reichste Mann der Welt. (Foto: dpa)

In diesem Artikel lesen Sie: 

  • Wie Algorithmen entscheiden, wer bei Amazon entlassen wird
  • Wie das wertvollste Unternehmen der Welt seine Mitarbeiter behandelt, als wären sie Roboter 
  • Wie sich die Situation speziell in Deutschland darstellt

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USA: Amazon und Co. zahlen keinen Cent Steuern


03-05-19 03:11:00,

In den USA hat sich die Zahl der Konzerne, die keine Steuern zahlen, nach Trumps Steuerreform verdoppelt

Das dürfte Donald Trump in Bedrängnis bringen. Während die kleinen Leute ihre Steuern zahlen müssen, weil sie – wie bei uns – keine Möglichkeiten haben, ihr Einkommen am Finanzamt vorbei zu tricksen, zahlen mehr Konzerne trotz Milliardengewinnen keinen Cent an Steuern. Und das hat sich mit Trumps Steuerreform noch weiter verstärkt.

Die New York Times hat das Thema aufgegriffen und gegen Donald Trump gewendet, wie das die Politik des Mediums ist. Tatsächlich wird in den USA derzeit die Forderung nach einer höheren Besteuerung der Reichen populär. Einige Präsidentschaftskandidaten der Demokraten haben dies auf ihr Programm gesetzt, während Trump weiter die Alternative “Sozialismus oder Freiheit” gegen Venezuela, aber auch gegen die demokratischen Politiker propagiert (Socialist States of America?, Höhere Besteuerung der Reichen ist plötzlich mehrheitsfähig).

Nach einem Bericht zahlten 60 Fortune 500-Konzerne keine Unternehmenssteuer, obgleich sie fast 80 Milliarden US-Dollar Profit machen. Die Konzerne hätten sogar 4,3 Milliarden an Unternehmenssteuern zurücküberwiesen bekommen. Besonders krass ist Amazon. Der Konzern machte über 10 Milliarden US-Dollar Gewinn und erhielt sogar noch eine Steuerrückzahlung. Ganz neu ist die Steuervermeidung großer Konzerne nicht, aber in den USA hat sich deren Zahl, die nach Trumps Steuerreform keine Steuern zahlen, gleich verdoppelt.

Zu den Null-Steuer-Konzernen gehören neben Amazon beispielsweise Halliburton, Netflix, IBM, Delta Air Lines, Chevron oder General Motors. Nach Plänen mancher demokratischer Präsidentschaftskandidaten sollen nicht nur die Reichen, sondern auch die profitablen Unternehmen mehr Steuern zahlen und damit zum Gemeinwohl beitragen. Sie werden natürlich als Linke oder gar Kommunisten bezeichnet, aber ist eine Besteuerung von Unternehmen und Reichen schon links, wenn kleine Einkommen ganz selbstverständlich Steuern zahlen müssen?

Die Präsidentschaftskandidatin Elizabeth Warren fordert beispielsweise, dass Unternehmen 7 Prozent Steuern auf die Gewinne über 100 Millionen US-Dollar in den USA zahlen sollen, die sie in der Welt erzielen. Das würde nur 1200 Unternehmen betreffen und eine Billion US-Dollar bringen. Amazon hätte nach Warren fast 700 Millionen US-Dollar an Steuern zahlen müssen. Das wären 700 Millionen mehr als nichts (Das Vermögen der Reichsten wächst am schnellsten).

Allerdings fordern Länder, in denen US-Konzerne Gewinne machen, ohne sie dort zu versteuern,

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It’s not just Amazon: These profitable US corporations paid ZERO taxes


21-04-19 11:22:00,

Sixty of America’s biggest companies from the Fortune 500 list, including IBM, Netflix, General Motors and Chevron, managed to avoid paying a dime in income taxes on their whopping profits last year.

After the explosive report on how Jeff Bezos’ Amazon used tax loopholes and paid nothing in taxes for two years in a row, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) revealed that many more US companies did the same thing absolutely legally in 2018.

They include 60 major firms from different sectors of the US economy from retail to oil and gas. For example, Delta Air Lines paid nothing to Uncle Sam despite recording over $5 billion in profits. Energy major Chevron and automotive giant General Motors also paid zero tax, with each having earned more than $4 billion last year.

In total, the listed companies zeroed out federal income taxes on $79 billion in US pretax income, according to ITEP findings. And instead of paying $16.4 billion in taxes, these corporations enjoyed a net corporate tax rebate of $4.3 billion.

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This all happened thanks to various legal loopholes created by the “technically flawed” 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The law left most tax breaks intact while it also set a 21 percent statutory corporate tax rate (reduced from 35 percent).

“The result, unsurprisingly, has been a continued decline in our already low corporate tax revenues: in fiscal 2018, US corporate tax revenues fell by 31 percent, according to US Treasury data,” the authors of the report said. “This was a more precipitous decline than in any year of normal economic growth in US history.”

The diverse array of legal tax breaks includes accelerated depreciation (used, for example, by Chevron and Delta Airlines among others) as well a tax break for stock options, from which Amazon and Netflix benefited. The latter – with $856 million in profit – reduced its income taxes by $191 million by taking advantage of this tax break and paying nothing.

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Bundespolizei goes Amazon


18-03-19 09:34:00,

Eine neue Form von Public-Private-Partnership: Die Bundespolizei speichert Bodycam-Aufnahmen auf Servern von Amazon

Eine ganz neue Form von Public-Private-Partnership ist offensichtlich die deutsche Bundespolizei eingegangen. Kürzlich wurde bekannt, dass die Strafverfolgungsbehörde die Aufnahmen ihrer mit Bodycams ausgestatteten Einsatzkräfte nun auf den Servern von Amazon speichert.

Diese Körperkameras, die bereits seit 2014 verstärkt zum Einsatz kommen, sollen Polizisten im Einsatz vor aggressiven Angriffen schützen und darüber hinaus dabei helfen, Straftäter zu identifizieren. Es handelt sich also um sensibles Datenmaterial, das da auf den Servern eines amerikanischen Privatunternehmens gespeichert wird. Das zuständige Ministerium begründete diesen Schritt damit, dass der amerikanische Internetgigant in Deutschland derzeit der einzige Anbieter sei, der eine vom Bundesamt für Sicherheit in der Informationstechnik zertifizierte Cloudlösung anbieten kann. Die Daten seien selbstverständlich verschlüsselt und ausschließlich auf Servern gespeichert, die in Deutschland stehen.

Deutsche Behörden wie die Bundespolizei verfügen also offensichtlich nicht über die nötigen Rechenzentren und Speicherkapazitäten, um das Datenmaterial, das ihre eigenen Mitarbeiter im Einsatz sammeln, unter eigener Regie und Kontrolle zu speichern. Denn wer weiß schon, ob nicht auch amerikanische Sicherheitsbehörden Zugriff auf die hier abgelegten Daten haben. Immerhin ist auch die CIA mit einer “Secret Cloud” auf den Servern der Amazon Web Services (AWS) Zuhause, was bei Bedarf doch kurze Wege für NSA & Co. garantiert.

Die Frage sei erlaubt, was Dorothee Bär, die für Digitalisierung zuständige Staatssekretärin im Kanzleramt, eigentlich den lieben langen Tag so macht? Von Flugtaxis träumen, aber die Basics nicht auf die Reihe kriegen, wie zum Beispiel den Aufbau einer gut funktionierenden IT-Infrastruktur für die bundeseigenen Behörden.

Johannes Bröckers ist Autor des Buches “Schnauze, Alexa! Ich kaufe nicht bei Amazon”: Darin rechnet er mit dem Allesverkäufer ab, der auf dem besten Weg ist, der Allesbeherrscher zu werden. Amazons Alexa hört weltweit in den Wohnstuben alles mit, auch die intimsten Informationen über uns kennt der weltweit größte Händler – vielleicht aber auch die CIA, die ebenfalls auf den Amazon-Servern zu Hause ist? Da hilft nur zu sagen: “Schnauze, Alexa!”

Aber vielleicht träumt ja die Bundespolizei bei dieser strategischen Partnerschaft insgeheim auch schon von “Amazon Rekognition”. Dieses KI-gestützte Gesichtserkennungsprogramm verkauft Amazon seit gut zwei Jahren an die US-Polizei. Rekognition ist bei der Überwachung im öffentlichen Raum in der Lage,

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Amazon Banned These 9 Academic Books Questioning Certain Aspects of the ‘Holocaust’. Why?


08-03-19 06:53:00,

This doesn’t look like extremist hate speech to us. Judging from these blurbs and titles, it looks like pretty balanced and fair discussion of a very serious, and vehemently disputed, allegation.

The first one in the list below even presents both sides of the argument in an attempt to get to the bottom of who is telling the truth.

Why are some people so afraid of a fair and open discussion?

These books were banned from Amazon in March of 2017, but are easily available online at other sellers. Take a look at the blurbs describing these books. They are an eye-opener.

Debating the Holocaust. A New Look at Both Sides.

By Thomas Dalton.

Mainstream historians insist that there cannot be, may not be a debate about the Holocaust. But ignoring it does not make this controversy go away. Traditional scholars admit that there was neither a budget, a plan, nor an order for the Holocaust; that the key camps have all but vanished, and so have any human remains; that material and unequivocal documentary evidence is absent; and that there are serious problems with survivor testimonies. Dalton juxtaposes the traditional Holocaust narrative with revisionist challenges and then analyzes the mainstream’s responses to them. He reveals the weaknesses of both sides, while declaring revisionism the winner of the current state of the debate. 3rd edition. 

332 pp. pb., 6”×9”, b/w ill., bibl., index, £20/25 (2017)

Auschwitz: A Three-Quarter Century of Propaganda Origins, Development and Decline of the “Gas Chamber” Propaganda Lie.

By Carlo Mattogno.

An overview of the many rumors, myths and lies about Auschwitz spread during and right after the war, which mainstream historians today reject as untrue: murder by gas bombs, electrocution chambers, gas showers, pneumatic hammer systems, electrocution conveyor belts; oils, grease and soap made of murder victims; 4 million victims; crematoria with a capacity of up to 400 million bodies… It then explains by which ridiculous methods some claims about Auschwitz were accepted as true and turned into “history,” although they are just as untrue.

124 pp. pb., 5”×8”, b/w ill., bibl., index, £8/$10 (2018) | Free eBook version available

Jewish Emigration from the Third Reich.

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Amazon Vendors Panic After Online Giant Suddenly Halts Purchases


08-03-19 09:39:00,

After Amazon successfully put a majority of its retail “brick and mortar” competitors out of business, it is now cracking down on its own supply chain.

In Jeff Bezos latest move to boost flagging profits and razor-thin margins at the company’s core e-commerce business, Amazon abruptly stopped buying products over the past two weeks from many of its wholesale vendors, encouraging them to instead sell their products directly to consumers on Amazon’s marketplace, even if that means disrupting relationships with longtime suppliers and potentially limiting customer choice. And, according to Bloomberg which cited consultants who help clients sell on Amazon, thousands of vendors are affected.

The departure from the company’s traditional business model of serving as logistical middleman between buyers and sellers, is pushing suppliers directly onto the marketplace – rather than selling products itself – and lets Amazon offload the risk but more importantly, the cost of purchasing, storing and shipping the merchandise. Instead, leveraging its quasi-monopolistic scale, Amazon is moving to charge suppliers for these services while taking a commission on each transaction, resulting in much higher margins per transaction. The disruptive strategy is part of a larger effort to reduce overhead by getting more suppliers to use an automated self-service system that requires no input from Amazon managers.

Commenting on the change in the company’s traditional operating model, Amazon responded to Bloomberg that it regularly reviews its selling partner relationships “and may make changes when we see an opportunity to provide customers with improved selection, value and convenience.” What it meant is that it is now big enough to extract an even greater profit from each transaction as the company’s vendors have no other choice.

And while their options may be limited, the vendors were not only shocked by the change in strategy, they are also furious: the abrupt cancellation of orders prompted panic this week at the ShopTalk retail conference that drew more than 8,000 retailers, brands and consultants to Las Vegas.

Some attendees said Amazon stopped submitting routine orders last week for a variety of products, often without explanation. The drought continued this week, affecting more vendors and leaving them frustrated about the lack of communication from Amazon.

One vendor who has been selling products to Amazon for five years said he got a canned response when he inquired why his routine weekly purchase order never came through.

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Amazon–De mentaliteit van een roofdier


01-03-19 09:55:00,

Een van de essentiële problemen van onze maatschappij is het feit dat grote multinationale bedrijven bijna in regel amper belastingen betalen. Het Amerikaanse Amazon slaagde er vorig jaar zelfs nog in om niet alleen 0 dollar belastingen te betalen maar van de overheid zoals ook al in 2017 nog centen te krijgen. Goed voor 129 miljoen dollar en dit ondanks de torenhoge winsten in het voorbije jaar.

amazon - Winst en belastingen - FT 25-02-2019,jpg

Een tabel die nog maar eens aantoont hoe grote multinationals veelal weigeren belastingen te betalen. Dat is dan maar voor anderen zoals kleine bedrijfjes, zelfstandigen en loontrekkenden. De VS is dan ook de grootste schuldenaar ter wereld. The Financial Times 25 februari 2019.

Een tabel van de Britse zakenkrant The Financial Times toont dit in wezen hallucinant verhaal ten volle. Geen probleem echter voor Jef Bezos, de grote man van Amazon. Want de staatskas is voor hem immers een zeer interessante partner. Zo is Amazon kandidaat voor een enorm groot contract rond informatica voor het Amerikaanse leger ten bedrage van 10 miljard dollar.

En als eigenaar van de erg invloedrijke krant The Washington Post bezit hij ook indien nodig over voldoende middelen om diezelfde overheid onder druk te zetten. De oorlog die hij op dit ogenblik via die krant voert tegen president Donald Trump toont dit.

Maar voor Bezos is dit ook een kwestie van hoger en lager. Stijgen de winsten fenomenaal dan blijkt uit de vele sociale conflicten in o.m. Duitsland dat de werkdruk er eveneens alsmaar stijgt en dat de lonen er dan weer zo laag mogelijk worden gehouden. Winstoptimalisatie heet dat in het jargon.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor Jeff Bezos

Voor Jef Bezos van Amazon is de VS een prachtig land. Vanuit zijn zakelijke praktijken heel begrijpelijk. Hij is kandidaat voor de titel van ‘s werelds rijkste man.

Bij de discussies rond dat contract van Amazon met het Pentagon stelde Bezos als excuus dat de Verenigde Staten ‘een prachtig land is dat men dient te verdedigen’. En wie die cijfers ziet kan hem moeilijk vanuit zijn standpunt ongelijk geven. De VS is immers een melkkoe voor figuren als een Bezos.

Willy Van Damme


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«Amazon»: Steuergutschrift trotz Milliardengewinn


20-02-19 11:17:00,

Amazon, Steuern, Schlupfloch, infosperber


Trotz eines Milliardengewinns muss «Amazon» in den USA keine Bundessteuern bezahlen

Tobias Tscherrig / 20. Feb 2019 –

Dank amerikanischer Steuerreform und Schlupflöcher im Gesetz erhält Amazon 2018 trotz Milliardengewinn eine Steuergutschrift.

Ausgerechnet die «Washington Post», die 2013 von «Amazon»-Präsident Jeff Bezos gekauft wurde, berichtete am 16. Februar unter dem Titel «Amazon bezahlte im vergangenen Jahr keine Bundessteuern auf Gewinne von 11,2 Milliarden Dollar» als Erste über den Steuercoup ihres Eigentümers. Im Artikel beruft sich die Zeitung auf Berechnungen des «Instituts für Steuern und Wirtschaftspolitik» (ITEP), welches die Steuererklärung von «Amazon» analysiert hatte.

Demnach wies der Online-Riese «Amazon» im Jahr 2018 Gewinne in der Höhe von 11,2 Milliarden Dollar aus – was im Vergleich zum Vorjahr einer Verdoppelung entspricht. Trotz dem hohen Gewinn habe «Amazon» 2018 eine Steuergutschrift von 129 Millionen Dollar erhalten, so die «Washington Post». Dies sei unter anderem auf zahlreiche Steuerschlupflöcher wie etwa gesetzlich zulässige Steuergutschriften und Steuerbefreiungen beim Handel mit Aktien zurückzuführen.

Gemäss der Analyse von ITEP liegt der effektive Steuersatz des Online-Riesen, der an der Börse zwischenzeitlich mehr als eine Billion Dollar wert war, zeitweise als wertvollstes Unternehmen der Welt galt und seinen Gründer Bezos zum reichsten Mensch der Welt gemacht hat, bei Minus einem Prozent. Damit zahle das Unternehmen keinen Cent der US-Bundessteuern.

Steuerreform von Trump ist mitschuldig

Verantwortlich für den mickrigen Steuersatz ist auch die Steuerreform von US-Präsident Donald Trump. Ende 2017 hatte er die radikale Reform auf den Weg gebracht, ab Anfang 2018 wurde der Steuersatz für Unternehmen auf Bundesebene dann von maximal 35 Prozent auf einen einheitlichen Steuersatz von 21 Prozent gesenkt. Gemäss «Handelsblatt» können Bundesstaaten und Gemeinden ausserdem eigene Körperschaftssteuern erheben, was die gesamte Steuerbelastung von durchschnittlich 38,9 Prozent auf 25,75 Prozent reduziere.

Ein weiterer wichtiger Punkt: Seit Inkrafttreten der unternehmensfreundlichen Steuerreform bezieht sich die Steuerpflicht von US-Unternehmen nicht länger auf alle Einkommen, welche sie weltweit erwirtschaften. Vielmehr werden bestimmte Einkommen wie Dividenden nur noch besteuert, wenn sie aus US-Quellen stammen.

«Amazon» nimmt das Geschenk gerne an

Im Artikel der «Washington Post» über die Steuerrückzahlung nimmt eine «Amazon»-Sprecherin Stellung: «Amazon zahlt alle Steuern,

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Amazon Subsidies Were Uneconomical, Un-American, & Unconstitutional


16-02-19 10:34:00,

Authored by Luigi Zingales via,

As soon as Amazon announced the location of its new headquarters, an intense media battle started on the rationality of the fiscal subsidies offered by the two chosen states to attract the new headquarters. Was it a good idea for New York and Virginia to offer $1.5 billion and $573 million respectively to stir Amazon’s decision?

In each of the two chosen locations Amazon was to invest billions in infrastructure, employ as many as 25,000 people directly (and many more indirectly), and bring billions in new tax revenues. Even the generous fiscal benefits offered by the two locations seem small vis-à-vis the additional fiscal revenues the winning states will enjoy. After all, had Amazon chosen New Jersey over New York, the Empire State would have lost up to $14 billion in new tax revenues over the next 25 years. Why shouldn’t a state pay a fraction of these enormous benefits to secure Amazon’s headquarters?

While appealing, this argument is flawed andas it turns outself-defeating. When companies compete for customers, they have to offer better products or lower prices. They are forced to innovate and improve efficiency in production. In economist lingo, product market competition is not a zero-sum game (my gains are equal to your losses), but a positive-sum game (my gains exceed your losses). By contrast, corporate competition for state subsidies is a zero-sum game. Amazon is not going to be more productive in New York than in New Jersey –it will only pay fewer taxes. If companies are successful in pitting one state against another, they will end up paying no state taxes. As a result, the economy will not be one iota more efficient, and the rest of us will end up paying more taxes to make up for the revenue shortfall.     

Competition for subsidies also fosters crony capitalism and hurts productivity growth. It fosters crony capitalism because it favors companies that are well-connected, rather than companies that are more efficient. A recent paper shows that companies are more likely to receive subsidies when they make financial contributions to political candidates in the state. Competition for subsidies also hurts productivity growth because it forces companies to dedicate time and resources to influencing the political choices,

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Trillion-dollar-valued Amazon pays $0 in income taxes for 2018, gets multi-million refund


14-02-19 09:00:00,

Trillion-dollar-company Amazon skated through 2018’s tax filings without paying a cent for the second year in a row. The e-commerce behemoth, which made $11 billion last year, will pay no taxes at all, thanks to 2017’s tax reform.

Rather than pay the standard 21 percent corporate income tax rate, Amazon is actually claiming a tax rebate of $129 million, which works out to a logic-defying rate of -1 percent. Aside from the nebulous “tax credits,” which the company does not have to spell out in its public filings, Amazon is also claiming a tax break for executive stock options, according to the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy – a longstanding loophole that permits profitable corporations to dodge federal and state income taxes on almost half their profits.

While President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax reform legislation lowered corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 21 percent, it was sold as an incentive for companies to keep their money in the US, instead of stashing it overseas where the IRS couldn’t touch it. Now that Amazon and Netflix have both made headlines for using the new regulations to avoid paying anything at all, it remains to be seen whether the legislation’s failure to close corporate loopholes will leave the US holding the bag for fiscal year 2018 as the country’s national debt inches past $22 trillion – a record high.

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Amazon’s tax windfall doesn’t even take into account the billions in tax breaks the state governments of Virginia and New York offered the company to open a second (and third) headquarters in their states, though there are rumors that New York is getting cold feet about the unprecedented corporate giveaway. Amazon didn’t pay any taxes in 2017 either, though it raked in a comparatively paltry $5.6 billion in profits and extracted a slightly larger $137 million refund.

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Amazon Denies Warehouse Workers’ Request For Air Conditioning As “Robots Can’t Work In Cold Weather”


17-12-18 09:12:00,

Thanks to the notoriously brutal working conditions at its fulfillment centers, Amazon has become a lighting rod of criticism from the American labor movement and the Democratic Socialists of America, who claim to champion the rights of workers (despite the fact that most of the organization’s members are college students and creative-class workers relying on handouts from their parents to pay their expensive Brooklyn rents). The e-commerce giant even won the dubious distinction of being specifically called out in a bill proposed by Socialist champion Bernie Sanders (his “Stop BEZOS” act).

As investigative reporters on multiple continents have burnished Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ reputation as a ruthless capitalist by exposing some of the company’s more extreme labor abuses, like effectively forcing employees to pee in bottles to avoid taking unpaid bathroom breaks and hiring ambulances to wait outside some of its warehouses to cart away workers suffering from heat stroke.

As the debate about what, exactly, Amazon owes its workers and the municipalities that host its facilities has taken on renewed relevance following the backlash to the generous tax breaks offered by NYC for Amazon to build a new headquarters in Long Island City (the city’s subway is crumbling, but Amazon is getting taxpayer-funded handouts to build a helipad!), more Amazon workers are rising up to protest their brutal working conditions.


This month, workers at the Amazon’s MSP1 fulfillment center in Shakopee, Minnesota gathered outside the facility on a cold Friday evening to protest several of these ‘abuses’, including the company’s refusal to accommodate Muslim workers by not providing adequate space and time for prayer as well as its refusal to accommodate workers observing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which this year coincided with the company’s Prime Day sale. 

A Gizmodo story about the protest in Minnesota included an interesting detail about another demonstration at a facility in Staten Island. Workers at the Amazon facility in Staten Island who recently announced their intention to unionize complained about the company’s refusal to install air-conditioning in its sweltering facility.

The reason given by Amazon for refusing to provide the air conditioning? The robots in its facility can’t function optimally in cold weather.

MSP1 is a fairly new and heavily-roboticized factory,

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Amazon HQ2 Will Cost Taxpayers at Least $4.6 Billion, More Than Twice What the Company Claimed, New Study Shows


15-11-18 09:49:00,

Amazon’s announcement this week that it will open its new headquarters in New York City and northern Virginia came with the mind-boggling revelation that the corporate giant will rake in $2.1 billion in local government subsidies. But an analysis by the nation’s leading tracker of corporate subsidies finds that the government handouts will actually amount to at least $4.6 billion.

But even that figure, which accounts for state and local perks, doesn’t take into account a gift that Amazon will also enjoy from the federal government, a testament to the old adage that in Washington, bad ideas never die.

The Amazon location in Long Island City, in the New York City borough of Queens, is situated in a federal opportunity zone, a Jack Kemp-era concept resurrected in the 2017 tax law that, in theory, is supposed to bring money into poverty-stricken areas. The northern Virginia site, in the Arlington neighborhood of Crystal City (which developers and local officials have rebranded as “National Landing”), is not directly in an opportunity zone but is virtually surrounded by other geographic areas that are.

Under the tax overhaul signed by President Donald Trump last year, investors in opportunity zones can defer payments of capital gains taxes until 2026, and if they hold them for seven years, they can exclude 15 percent of the gains from taxation. If investors carry the opportunity zone investment for 10 years, they eliminate taxes on future appreciation entirely. Investment managers have been salivating at the chance to take advantage of opportunity zones. Special funds have been built to cater to people holding unrealized capital gains — such as Amazon employees with large holdings of company stock.

Not only could Amazon benefit from the opportunity zone directly in Long Island City, but Virginia employees with unrealized capital gains will have an escape valve next door to an Amazon campus. “People who happen to be sitting around with long-term capital gains may now have vehicles for hiding them,” said Greg LeRoy of Good Jobs First, a nonprofit that scrutinizes economic development incentive deals between cities and companies, and has analyzed the Amazon deal.

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on the opportunity zone or the Good Jobs First estimate of the subsidies it could receive.

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Amazon’s Accent Recognition Technology Could Tell the Government Where You’re From


15-11-18 03:25:00,

At the beginning of October, Amazon was quietly issued a patent that would allow its virtual assistant Alexa to decipher a user’s physical characteristics and emotional state based on their voice. Characteristics, or “voice features,” like language accent, ethnic origin, emotion, gender, age, and background noise would be immediately extracted and tagged to the user’s data file to help deliver more targeted advertising.

The algorithm would also consider a customer’s physical location — based on their IP address, primary shipping address, and browser settings — to help determine their accent. Should Amazon’s patent become a reality, or if accent detection is already possible, it would introduce questions of surveillance and privacy violations, as well as possible discriminatory advertising, experts said.

The civil rights issues raised by the patent are similar to those around facial recognition, another technology Amazon has used as an anchor of its artificial intelligence strategy, and one that it controversially marketed to law enforcement. Like facial recognition, voice analysis underlines how existing laws and privacy safeguards simply aren’t capable of protecting users from new categories of data collection — or government spying, for that matter. Unlike facial recognition, voice analysis relies not on cameras in public spaces, but microphones inside smart speakers in our homes. It also raises its own thorny issues around advertising that targets or excludes certain groups of people based on derived characteristics like nationality, native language, and so on (the sort of controversy that Facebook has stumbled into again and again).


From Amazon’s patent, an illustration of a process for determining physical and emotional characteristics from someone’s voice, resulting in tailored audio content like ads.

Document: United States Patent and Trademark Office

Why the Government Might Be Interested in Accent Data

If voice-based accent detection can determine a person’s ethnic background, it opens up a new category of information that is incredibly interesting to the government, said Jennifer King, director of consumer privacy at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society.

“If you’re a company and you’re creating new classifications of data, and the government is interested in them, you’d be naive to think that law enforcement isn’t going to come after it,” she said.

She described a scenario in which knowing a user’s purchase history,

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Amazon erhält Milliarden für die neuen Konzernstandorte


14-11-18 11:24:00,

Long Island City. Bild: King of Hearts/CC By-SA-3.0

Der Konzern soll neben Geldvorteilen primär nach Orten gesucht haben, um am besten Talente zu gewinnen, mit Arlington und Long Island City wird gegenüber dem Silicon Valley die Ostküste präferiert

Seit einem Jahr konkurrierten Hunderte von amerikanischen Städten darum, zum Standort einer weiteren Zentrale von Amazon zu werden. Versprochen wurden von Amazon, der Konzern beschäftigt weltweit 610.000 Menschen, 250.000 in Nordamerika, 50.000 Arbeitsplätze. Skurril waren teilweise die Angebote an den Internetkonzern. Jetzt hat sich Amazon entschieden, nicht einen, sondern zwei neue Hauptsitze in Long Island City, New York, und in Alexandria (Crystal City), Virginia, zu bauen. Beide sollen jeweils 25.000 Arbeitsplätze anbieten, zusätzlich wird noch ein Logistikzentrum in Nashville errichtet.

Wie erwartet, wurden die beiden Standorte nicht nur wegen ihrer Lage, sondern auch wegen geldwerter Vorteile gewählt. Immerhin erhält Amazon vom Bundesstaat New York einen Zuschuss von 1,5 Milliarden US-Dollar. Angeblich soll es auch von New York City noch Gelder geben, deren Höhe aber noch nicht bekannt ist. Virginia lockte mit einer halben Milliarde Steuergelder, Tennessee mit über 100 Millionen.

Nach Angaben von Amazon erhält der Konzern vom Bundesstaat New York 1,525 Milliarden US-Dollar, davon seien 1,2 Milliarden ein leistungsgebundener Steuerkredit von 1,2 Milliarden, der auf den Löhnen basiert, die Amazon den Angestellten während der nächsten 10 Jahre zahlen wird. Das entspricht 48.000 US-Dollar pro Job mit einem Durchschnittseinkommen von 150.000 US-Dollar. Ausgezahlt wird das Geld nach den gechaffenen Arbeitsplätzen.

Versprochen wird eine Investition von 2,5 Milliarden US-Dollar, die Schaffung von 25.000 gut bezahlten Vollzeitjobs, eine Bürofläche von 370.000 Quadratmetern, die in Zukunft verdoppelt werden könnte, und Steuereinnahmen von mehr als 10 Milliarden US-Dollar während der nächsten 20 Jahre. Durch das neue Zentrum sollen Tausende von weiteren Jobs entstehen. Zudem hat Amazon zugesichert, dass auf dem Gelände auch ein Startup-Inkubator entsteht, zudem Platz für Künstler und Unternehmen. Der Konzern will einen Bauplatz für eine öffentliche Schule stiften und in Infrastruktur und neue Grünräume investieren.

Die ideale Stadt für IT-Konzerne

Interessant ist die Beschreibung der Vorzüge von Long Island City als Standort. Daraus lässt sich erschließen, was für die Ansiedlung eines Unternehmens und von gut bezahlten Angestellten an urbaner Struktur erforderlich ist, was aber möglicherweise durch den Zuzug von Tausenden von neuen Gutverdienern zerstört werden kann,

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Hoe Amazon en andere techbedrijven meehelpen aan de deportatie van migranten


08-11-18 11:14:00,

Technologiebedrijven als Amazon en Palantir verdienen grof geld met de deportatie van migranten in de VS. Eigenlijk is het nog straffer: ze maken die deportatie ook mee mogelijk. Hoe kan dat?

Om de link tussen technologiebedrijven en de Amerikaanse deportatiediensten te begrijpen moet eerst iets verduidelijkt worden over hoe die technologiebedrijven werken en wat hun band is met de Amerikaanse overheid.

Neem nu Amazon. Het is een naam die de meesten onder ons associëren met koopjes doen op het internet. Maar eigenlijk is retail slechts een klein deel van wat Amazon doet. Het bedrijf heeft zich de voorbije jaren gespecialiseerd in het aanbieden van online opslagruimte, de zogenaamde cloud-storage. De tak van het bedrijf die daarin gespecialiseerd is, heet AWS, wat staat voor Amazon Web Services.

AWS werd aanvankelijk ontwikkeld als een intern platform voor Amazon. Het diende om data over klanten, trajecten en producten te managen. Maar algauw zag Amazon in dat de ontwikkelde technologie kon uitbesteed worden aan andere bedrijven. Een slimme zet, want AWS is momenteel de snelst groeiende tak van Amazon. Om een idee te geven: in 2018 was AWS verantwoordelijk voor 73 procent van de totale omzet van Amazon.

Steeds meer bedrijven doen rechtstreeks of onrechtstreeks, via tussenspelers, beroep op AWS om hun data op te slaan. Dat is immers veel goedkoper dan zelf servers te beheren. Bovendien beschikken bedrijven als Amazon ook over de juiste technologie en know how om data te verwerken, analyseren en beheren. In praktijk komt deze praktijk neer op het outsourcen van informatietechnologie.

Niks op tegen? Hangt ervan af hoe je het bekijkt. Door het outsourcen van informatietechnologie geven bedrijven ook heel wat weg. Omdat een bedrijf als AWS over zoveel data beschikt, kan het ook steeds meer data en kennis monopoliseren die eigen zijn aan specifieke sectoren. Het gaat daarbij niet alleen om de data zelf maar ook over de metadata: de data over de data waardoor patronen, structuren en tendensen duidelijk worden. Dat biedt een groot competitief voordeel.


Niet alleen bedrijven zijn geïnteresseerd om hun data te migreren naar de ‘cloud’. In tijden waarin besparingen het mantra zijn, zien ook overheden steeds meer heil in het outsourcen van informatietechnologie. Dat is zeker het geval voor de Amerikaanse overheid.

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Amazon Censorship of 9/11 Unmasked

Amazon Censorship of 9/11 Unmasked

16-09-18 08:49:00,

Edward Curtin

On September 10, 2018, I published a laudatory review of the new book, 9/11 Unmasked: An International Review Panel Investigation by David Ray Griffin and Elizabeth Woodworth.  It is the definitive book on the defining event of the 21st century.  The book concludes that the official version(s) of the attacks of 11 September 2001 are false.  The review was subsequently reposted at many publications. There was great reader response and interest in the book, which was due for official release the next day, 11 September.  My review provided a link to the book’s Amazon page that noted the 11 September availability date.

By the next day readers were responding in great number that the Amazon site was reporting the book was “out of print,” when in fact it had just been published.  This “out of print” notification lasted until the evening of 13 September when it was changed to “in stock on September 30, 2018.”

By the following morning it was changed to “in stock on September 21, 2018,” only to be changed again between 11-12 PM on September 14 to “in stock on September 24, 2018,” where it remains as of noon on Saturday the 15th.  It is unheard of for a book that has an official release date and that is available straight from the publisher to be listed as “out of print.” Amazon Canada continues to report that the book “has not yet been released.”  And obviously, all the date changes that push the book’s availability back by weeks suggest a clear-cut effort by Amazon to make sure readers cannot obtain the book quickly and in a timely manner from the most popular source, if ever.

Will they soon announce that the book will never be available for national security considerations or because it violates Amazon’s “content guidelines”? The book’s publisher, Interlink Publishing, is selling the book now and says Amazon has the books.  So why is Jeff Bezos’s company playing this game? His other major business, The Washington Post, (known as the CIA’s newspaper) is surely not going to review the book, nor would their editorial staff post encomiums to David Ray Griffin, Elizabeth Woodworth, their colleagues in this important research.

Readers should demand that Amazon immediately change their website and accept orders to be shipped today.  

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Amazon Delivers Low-Paying Jobs and Dirty Air to California’s Poorest

Amazon Delivers Low-Paying Jobs and Dirty Air to California’s Poorest

11-09-18 03:56:00,

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Amazon, long known for its low pay and bad labor practices at the company’s fulfillment centers, is starting to feel some heat. One of the largest trade unions in the United Kingdom, GMB, is staging ongoing protests, the SEIU has launched a “Warehouse Workers Stand Up” campaign in New Jersey and Sen. Bernie Sanders has introduced the Stop BEZOS Act. The legislation would recapture the hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars provided by the US Treasury for health coverage, food stamps and other government payments to Amazon workers.

But Amazon is also wreaking havoc on the environment, and its delivery vehicles are generating untold amounts of greenhouse gases, ozone and particulate matter. California environmental advocates are taking on this challenge to protect the air quality in communities living with these warehouses in their backyards.

The US alone has more than 124 million square feet of fulfillment centers already built and another 41 million square feet in the planning stages, according to logistics industry trade publication MWPVL. Amazon is expanding its footprint at the expense of communities already overburdened by pollution and traffic of the dirty diesel trucks that move goods to and from the centers. From New Jersey to California, Amazon warehouses are remaking the physical environment.

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US locations of Amazon's current fulfillment centers.US locations of Amazon’s current fulfillment centers©2018 Google Courtesy of

As the real estate boom in California drives gentrification and displacement to even more remote suburbs,

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The Amazon Business Model is A Job Killer: The Shift Towards E-Commerce. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 31 Million Jobs Destroyed | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

The Amazon Business Model is A Job Killer: The Shift Towards E-Commerce. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 31 Million Jobs Destroyed | Global Research – Centre for Research on Globalization

09-09-18 04:59:00,

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above  

Prominent in the news this past week was the report that Amazon and its CEO, Jeff Bezos, reached record levels of market valuation and wealth. Amazon is now worth more than $1 trillion and Bezos’s personal wealth stands at $165 billion. This of course is largely due to the stock price appreciation of the company, as investors in the US and worldwide pile into purchasing Amazon stock and thereby drive up its stock price, its market valuation and, in turn, Bezos’s share of that in terms of his own net worth.

Why so much investment money is surging into Amazon—and other tech company stocks like Google, Apple, and others—is a story in itself  but left here for another analysis.  Briefly, it has to do with the investor class’s accelerating capital gains from the $1 trillion a year distribution to them from Corporate America’s stock buybacks and dividend payouts. A trillion dollars a year, every year (2011 to 2017) for the past six years in buybacks and dividends by S&P 500 corporations alone. This year, 2018, buybacks and dividend payouts will set a record of more than $1.3 trillion in such distribution to investor-shareholders, pumped up by Trump tax cuts of more than $300 billion in 2018 that are doubling profits of S&P 500 companies.

According to a recent report by Zion Research, for the S&P 500 no less than 49% of their 2018 record profits has been due to the Trump tax cuts—a massive direct subsidy to corporate America without historical precedent in the US. For some sectors, like the telephone companies, 152% of their 2018 profits have been due to the Trump tax cuts.  The massive tax-driven profits are then redistributed to their shareholder-investors via stock buybacks and dividends well exceeding $1 trillion annually. The stockholder-shareholders then plow back the much of the $1 trillion back into the stock market, driving up stock prices further that are already rising due to the record profits and buybacks.  A good part of the ‘plowback’ into stocks has been going into the tech sector. The Apples, Googles, and of course Amazon especially—which leads to the company’s $1 trillion current market valuation and Jeff Bezos’s $165 billion personal net worth.

But to justify this obscene income subsidization of Corporate America by the US government—Trump and Congress—the political ‘spin’ is that it is creating jobs and wages are rising.

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Krieger: Amazon Is Far More Dangerous And Powerful Than You Want To Admit

Krieger: Amazon Is Far More Dangerous And Powerful Than You Want To Admit

05-09-18 08:28:00,

Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

The sneaky thing about Amazon’s increased dominance in so many key aspects of our lives is that much of the perniciousness is hidden. No one’s going to tell you about all the retailers who have gotten pressured or destroyed via its tactics while you’re happily clicking “add to cart” and smiling about 2-day free shipping. In this sense, it can be best compared to the evils of factory farming. Most people just simply have no idea about the immense damage going on behind the scenes as they indulge in incredible convenience and what looks like a good deal.

– From my November 15, 2017 post: Amazon Poses a Serious Threat to Freedom and Free Markets

Today’s post should be seen as an update to last year’s article referenced above. In the months that have followed, I’ve been consistently frustrated by the lack of interest when it comes to the dangers presented by Amazon and its richest man in the world ($165 billion as of last count) CEO Jeff Bezos.

The following Twitter exchange is a good example of what I mean:

Sure it does. Bezos is on a board advising the Pentagon and Amazon has a $600 million contract with the CIA. You’re a smart guy, I’m sure you know this.

— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) August 30, 2018

I’m not trying to pick on Bill here. He’s been a reader of my work for some time, and I consider him an intelligent person who genuinely cares about having a positive impact on the world around him . This is precisely why this sort of thing is so frustrating to me. There seems to be a gigantic society-wide disconnect between people’s perception of Amazon and the reality.

Rampant ignorance has plagued the U.S. population when it comes to the deployment of technology, which has allowed the platform monopolies of Facebook, Google and Amazon to rise to dominance with disturbingly little scrutiny. Specifically, these companies have been able to take advantage of a massive information arbitrage between themselves and their users. In other words, these companies have been so far ahead of the general public when it comes to technology,

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Amazon Now Accounts For 49% Of Online Retail

Amazon Now Accounts For 49% Of Online Retail

19-07-18 03:59:00,

Amazon will account for accounts for 49.1% of all online retail sales, up from 43% the year before, if they clear an expected $258 billion in sales this year.

The stunning figure provided by research firm eMarketer is tempered by the fact that Amazon’s near-majority share of online sales accounts for just 5% of all retail sales. Amazon is set to rake in $258.22 billion in US retail sales in 2018, while annual growth has jumped 29.2% year-over-year, reports Tech Crunch.

Fueling Amazon’s rise is a robust network of third-party sellers and a rapidly expanding range of goods from groceries to fashion – made all the more attractive for subscribers of their Prime services. 

Now, it is fast approaching a tipping point where more people will be spending money online with Amazon, than with all other retailers — combined. Amazon’s next-closest competitor, eBay, a very, very distant second at 6.6 percent, and Apple in third at 3.9 percent. Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer when counting physical stores, has yet to really hit the right note in e-commerce and comes in behind Apple with 3.7 percent of online sales in the US. –TC

Popular categories:

The most popular category on Amazon is consumer electronics and tech, with projected sales of $65.82 billion according to eMarketer; around a quarter of total turnover. Second in line is apparel and accessories, which should account for roughly $39.88 billion, followed by health, personal care and beauty with $16 billion. In last place is food and beverage trailing at $4.75 billion.

EMarketer arrives at their estimates “based on an analysis of quantitative and qualitative data from research firms, government agencies, media firms and public companies, plus interviews with top executives at publishers, ad buyers and agencies.” 

What’s more, Amazon is expected to drive over 80% of ecommerce growth this year.

Bread and butter

By in large Amazon’s largest cash cow is their Marketplace – a third-party sales platform on which sellers can use Amazon’s retail and logistics infrastructure to hawk their wares.

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Bürgerrechtler: Amazon soll sein Gesichtserkennungsprogramm nicht Regierung zur Verfügung stellen

Bürgerrechtler: Amazon soll sein Gesichtserkennungsprogramm nicht Regierung zur Verfügung stellen

23-05-18 09:46:00,


23.05.2018 • 10:58 Uhr

Polizist mit einer Videokamera (Symbolbild)

Die US-amerikanische Bürgerrechtsorganisation ACLU hat den Online-Versandhändler Amazon dazu aufgefordert, sein Gesichtserkennungsprogramm “Rekognition” nicht mehr den US-Strafverfolgungsbehörden zur Verfügung zu stellen. Die Organisation bezeichnet die Technologie als ein “mächtiges Überwachungssystem” und warnt vor einer “Gefahr für die Demokratie”. Der ACLU zufolge habe Amazon nun offiziell das Überwachungsgeschäft betreten.

In einem offenen Brief erklärt die Bürgerrechtsorganisation, Amazon habe ein “leistungsstarkes und gefährliches Gesichtserkennungssystem” entwickelt und helfe aktiv Regierungen, dieses einzusetzen. Bei dem System handele es sich um ein Produkt, das die Bürgerfreiheiten und -rechte gefährde. Mithilfe von künstlicher Intelligenz kann die Software Menschen identifizieren, verfolgen und bis zu 100 Gesichter auf einer einzigen Aufnahme analysieren. In der Produktbeschreibung wird Rekognition als “einfache und genaue Möglichkeit” bezeichnet, um Menschen zu überwachen.

Mehr zum Thema –  China: Schule überwacht Schülerverhalten im Klassenzimmer mit Kameras und Gesichtserkennungssoftware

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Amazon Go: The World’s First Checkout-less Supermarket | Light On Conspiracies – Revealing the Agenda

Amazon Go: The World’s First Checkout-less Supermarket | Light On Conspiracies – Revealing the Agenda

23-01-18 09:43:00,

By Fattima Mahdi Truth Theory

Since December 2016, Amazon have been testing their ‘checkoutless’ supermarket in Seattle, Washington. To identify each customer and what they’ve purchased, ceiling-mounted cameras and sensors have been installed, as well as a phone application that the customer would use to enter the store. Shelved items sit on sensors that track inventory. When the already identified customer picks an item off the shelf, that items is deducted from the store inventory and logged in the customer’s digital shopping cart.

The store was expected to open to customers far earlier in 2017, however, problems identifying shoppers of similar body types, as well as items being moved to different places on shelves have led to setbacks. Head of Amazon Go, Gianna Puerini said, “This technology didn’t exist – it was really advancing the state of the art of computer vision and machine learning”.

The tech conglomerate has been running brick and mortar retail stores since 2015, beginning with a book store in Seattle before expanding to another 12 stores across the rest of the US. As yet, Amazon has no plans to introduce their ‘checkoutless’ technology to their Whole Foods stores, a chain they acquired in 2016 for $13.7billion.

The technology behind Amazon Go was patented in 2014, before they released a video introducing the frictionless shopping concept to the world. Stores using this technology will have an enormous competitive advantage over all others, as it is known that the faster customers can make their purchases, the more likely they are to return. Just as they dominate the internet with Amazon Web Services– the cloud computing ‘super server’ used to host and organise such sites as Netflix, Pintrest and NASA – Amazon have set themselves up to dominate the $25trillion retail industry by becoming the sole suppliers of the frictionless shopping technology. “You will see more expansion from us”, said Amazon’s CFO, Brian Olsavsky, “it’s still early, so those plans will develop over time”.

Read More: World’s First Self-Driving Grocery Store Just Hit The Streets In Shanghai

Image Credit: Amazon

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