Amazon’s Treasure Trucks Sell Discounted Ring Doorbells Across The US And UK


13-08-19 05:35:00,

By MassPrivateI

Leave it to Amazon to create circus sideshow trucks, sorry I meant “Treasure Trucks” to promote neighborhood spying.

Last year, Slick Deals announced that Amazon’s treasure trucks were selling Ring doorbells at the discounted price of $139.00 in “select U.S. cities.”

And last December, Amazon’s Facebook page announced that their treasure trucks were offering discounted Ring doorbells for the holidays.

“Happy holidays! Need a last-minute gift? Scoop up a Ring Video Doorbell Pro—a front-door facelift! Use it to welcome your friends, or scare away thieves for $175 (30% off), your smart home’s got new tricks up its sleeves.”


credit: Amazon Treasure Truck on Facebook

At least Amazon got one thing right:  offering discounted or free Ring doorbells from a truck is a new trick.

But it is not just Amazon that is promoting Ring doorbells. A December 18th, 2018 article questions CNN’s impartiality of promoting Amazon’s treasure truck Ring doorbell sale.

Turning a home into a smart one doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Rather than investing in pricey kits for the entire house, consider shopping your devices piece by piece. And a great place to start is with your front door.

Why would CNN, the so-called “most trusted name in news” promote Ring doorbells? Could it be because Amazon is CNN’s preferred cloud provider?

Amazon doesn’t really need CNN to convince Americans to buy Ring doorbells because their ever expanding fleet of Treasure Trucks is coming to a city near you.

Recently, GeekWire revealed that within the span of two years, Amazon’s Treasure Trucks have expanded to 29 cities; effectively giving them nationwide coverage.

Two years after expanding on its quirky, Seattle-only deals-on-wheels idea, Amazon announced Wednesday that the Treasure Truck shopping experience is coming to Charlotte, N.C., Cincinnati, Columbus, Ohio, and Las Vegas.

Amazon’s Treasure Trucks have grown 5x in just two years,

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How Amazon’s Ring & Rekognition Set The Stage For Consumer-Generated Mass-Surveillance


05-02-19 08:59:00,

Authored by Jevan Hutson via The Washington Journal of Law, Technology, & Arts,

If every home on a street, in a neighborhood, or in a town had a Ring surveillance system, the individual cameras, taken together, could construct an extremely intimate picture of daily public life. By integrating facial recognition and contracting with local and federal law enforcement agencies, Amazon supercharges the potential for its massive network of surveillant consumers to comprehensively track the movements of individuals over time, even when the individual has not broken any law. Fully realized, these technologies set the stage for consumer generated mass surveillance.

Amazon’s Ring surveillance system dominates the growing video doorbell market. Ring, acquired by Amazon last April, is a system of home surveillance doorbell cameras which operate on an integrated social media platform, Neighbors. Neighbors allows users to share camera footage with other users and law enforcement agencies, as well as report safety issues, strangers, or suspicious activities. The platform aggregates user-generated reports and video data into a local activity maps and watchlists.

Similar community platforms where neighbors can report suspicious persons or activity, such as NextDoor, are notorious for racial bias and profiling. This problem will surely be made worse by Amazon’s desire to automatically classify persons as “suspicious” through sentiment analysis and other biometric data collection.

A recent patent application shows that Amazon will integrate their facial recognition product Rekognition into the Ring system, while also collecting and analyzing a litany of other biometric information. Many raise serious concerns about the integration of facial recognition to our contemporary digital ecosystem. Indeed, a unique consensus among researcherslawmakersadvocates, and technology companies that facial recognition technology amplifies bias, intensifies mass surveillance and ought be subject to stringent regulation. [For more WJLTA coverage on algorithmic bias, see here.]

A centralized social network of private facial recognition cameras expands and streamlines traditional surveillance infrastructure by creating more data that is easily searchable.

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FBI Testing Amazon’s Facial Recognition Software


05-01-19 11:45:00,

The CIA isn’t the only federal agency making use of Amazon’s vast offerings – as the FBI has been testing the Seattle-based megacorp’s facial recognition software – Amazon Rekognition, as a potential method of scanning vast amounts of video surveillance footage which the agency routinely gathers during investigations. 

The pilot program was launched in early 2018 according to FBI officials, after several high-profile counterterrorism investigations which strained the FBI’s current technological capabilities, reports

One example of the FBI’s struggle to keep up with data was during the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting in which 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada killed Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and injured 422. As part of the investigation, the FBI gathered a petabyte worth of data (one million gigabytes) – much of it comprising video from cellphones and surveillance cameras. 

“We had agents and analysts, eight per shift, working 24/7 for three weeks going through the video footage of everywhere Stephen Paddock was the month leading up to him coming and doing the shooting,” said FBI Deputy Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Christine Halvorsen, speaking from a Las Vegas Amazon Web Services conference in November. She described how the FBI has been using Amazon’s cloud platform to carry out counterterrorism probes – noting that Amazon Rekognition could have processed the same amount of data from the Las Vegas shooting “in 24 hours,” roughly three weeks faster than it took human FBI agents to find Paddock’s face amid a mountain of video evidence. 

“Think about that,” Halvorsen said, noting that technology like Amazon Rekognition frees up FBI agents and analysts to apply their skills to other aspects of the investigation or other cases.

“The cases don’t stop, the threats keep going,” Halvorsen added. “Being able to not pull people off that and have computers do it is very important.” –

Amazon provides a significant number of services to the US government – primarily through its cloud business, AWS, which counts the Defense Department and the CIA among its customers. 

While it’s unclear how the facial recognition software may be used in the public sector, the Daily Beast reported in October that Amazon had pitched the software to Immigrations and Customs Enforcement last summer,

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Amazon’s Billion-Dollar Shakedown of America’s Cities


14-11-18 08:25:00,

Employees at Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle. (Elaine Thompson / AP)

If one required reminding of the Democratic Party’s complete capitulation to corporate interests, to say nothing of the country’s as a whole, he or she need only have listened to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s address on Tuesday. “One of the biggest companies on earth next to the biggest public housing development in the United States,” he told reporters during a joint press conference with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “The synergy is going to be extraordinary.”

The company in question is Amazon, which confirmed earlier that morning that Long Island City, Queens, will become the site of its second headquarters (a third headquarters will be located in northern Virginia). The announcement ends a 13-month pageant that saw 238 cities and their elected officials prostrate themselves to CEO Jeff Bezos, only for the multibillionaire to move his company into two of the wealthiest metropolises in the country (New York and Washington, D.C.) and likely displace countless working people. And for this privilege, the state of New York will reward Amazon with more than $1.5 billion in incentives, while the city provides property-tax abatements for the next 25 years—this as it faces public transportation and affordable-housing crises. Amazon, meanwhile, stands to save upward of $1 billion over the next decade.

As Derek Thompson argues in The Atlantic, moves like these are not merely outrageous. They should be outlawed.

“Every year, American cities and states spend up to $90 billion in tax breaks and cash grants to urge companies to move among states,” he writes. “That’s more than the federal government spends on housing, education, or infrastructure. And since cities and states can’t print money or run steep deficits, these deals take scarce resources from everything local governments would otherwise pay for, such as schools, roads, police, and prisons.”

Maddeningly, this corporate welfare seldom results in the kind of economic stimulus promised. Thompson points to the $3 billion in subsidies that Gov. Scott Walker used to attract Foxconn to Wisconsin—an investment that was supposed to generate 13,000 manufacturing jobs in Racine. Instead, the Taiwanese multinational has hired a fraction of that number,

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Amazon’s Rekognition Surveillance Tool Will Grant Police Even More Surveillance Power | Light On Conspiracies – Revealing the Agenda

Amazon’s Rekognition Surveillance Tool Will Grant Police Even More Surveillance Power | Light On Conspiracies – Revealing the Agenda

04-06-18 07:43:00,

Amazon is facing pressure from civil liberties groups for the corporation’s role in building the infrastructure which powers government surveillance.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, the Freedom of the Press Foundation and nearly 40 other organizations have joined together to demand that Amazon cease providing law enforcement access to surveillance technology. The organizations signed onto a letter to Amazon which condemns the company for developing new facial recognition tools that allow real-time surveillance using police body cameras and the ever growing interconnected network of cameras in most major American cities.

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“Amazon has been heavily marketing this tool—called “Rekognition”—to law enforcement, and it’s already being used by agencies in Florida and Oregon,” the EFF wrote in a recent blog. “This system affords the government vast and dangerous surveillance powers, and it poses a threat to the privacy and freedom of communities across the country. That includes many of Amazon’s own customers, who represent more than 75 percent of U.S. online consumers.”

Documents obtained by the ACLU of Northern California recently revealed Rekognition, Amazon’s facial recognition program, is currently used by police in Orlando and Oregon’s Washington County. As with the Stingray cellphone surveillance tools, the tool requires law enforcement to sign nondisclosure agreements to avoid public disclosure. The EFF is calling on Amazon to “stand up for civil liberties” and “cut law enforcement off from using its face recognition technology.”

The joint letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos states that Amazon’s face recognition technology is “readily available to violate rights and target communities of color.” The letter warns that the facial recognition tool will disproportionately affect communities of color, “continuously track immigrants, and identify and arrest protesters and activists.” In addition, the letter warns that the technology will ultimately “chill free speech.”

The letter also notes that Amazon’s own promotional material states that Rekognition can identify people in real-time by “instantaneously searching databases containing tens of millions of faces.” Amazon offers a “person tracking” feature that it says “makes investigation and monitoring of individuals easy and accurate” for “surveillance applications.” Amazon says Rekognition can be used to identify “all faces in group photos,

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Amazons Transparenzbericht: So viele Auskunftsersuche der US-Behörden wie nie zuvor |

Amazons Transparenzbericht: So viele Auskunftsersuche der US-Behörden wie nie zuvor |

17-01-18 09:28:00,

Amazon erstellt jedes Jahr einen sogenannten Transparency Report, also einen Transparenzbericht, in dem das Unternehmen angibt, wie viele Anfragen es staatlicherseits zu Kunden, Vorgängen, usw. bekommen hat. Der neueste fünfte Bericht zeigt, dass im ersten Halbjahr 2017 seitens der US-Strafverfolgungsbehörden so viele Anfragen wie nie zuvor gestellt wurden. Allein 1.936 verschiedene Anfragen wurden zwischen Januar und Juni 2017 gestellt.

Von diesen 1.936 Anträgen beantwortete Amazon insgesamt 1.465 Stück, die 1.200 Vorladungen, 189 Durchsuchungsbefehle und 76 andere Gerichtsbeschlüsse umfasste. Im Vergleich zum Vorjahr ist dies eine enorme Steigerung wie die Werte von 2016 zeigen:

  • 1.618 Vorladungen, von denen Amazon 679 Fälle vollständig nachgekommen ist.
  • 229 Durchsuchungsbefehle, von denen Amazon 100 Fälle vollständig nachkam.
  • 89 weitere gerichtliche Verfügungen, von denen Amazon 46 Fällen vollständig nachkam.

Amazon machte im Übrigen keine Anmerkung, warum ein so großer Anstieg stattfand. Aber da Amazon mit dem US-Geheimdienst CIA eine Partnerschaft über 600 Millionen US-Dollar bei Cloud Servern eingegangen ist, sollte dieser Fakt verstärkt zu Denken geben. Anzumerken ist auch, dass Amazon keine Anforderungen für eine “Inhaltslöschung” erhielt. Was wiederum impliziert, dass die eingereichten Fälle nicht auf illegalen Inhalten beruhten.

Im Transparenzbericht findet man auch keine Aussage darüber, ob Behörden Daten aus den Aufzeichnungen von Amazons Echo erhalten haben. Wobei festzuhalten ist, dass Amazon im letzten Jahr Aufnahmen in einem Mordfall dem Gericht bereitstellte, was aufzeigt das der Sprachassistent Echo laufend zuhört bzw. aufnimmt und nicht nur durch Schlüsselwörter aktiviert wird wie Amazon selber sagt.

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Ein Artikel bildet zwangsweise die Meinung eines Einzelnen ab. In Zeiten der Propaganda und Gegenpropaganda ist es daher umso wichtiger sich mit allen Informationen kritisch auseinander zu setzen.  » Lees verder