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With Facial Recognition Technology at 'Crossroads,' 90 Groups Urge Amazon, Google, and Microsoft Not to Collude With Big Brother

With Facial Recognition Technology at 'Crossroads,' 90 Groups Urge Amazon, Google, and Microsoft Not to Collude With Big Brother

Jessica Corbett, staff writer

In a trio of letters sent Tuesday to executives at Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, a coalition of 90 civil and human rights groups called on the companies to refuse to sell facial recognition technology to governments

Amazon, Google and Microsoft ARE big brother… and don’t forget old Zuck. Oh, the horror.

Whaddooya think the smartphones in people’s pockets have been up to for the past fifteen or more years?


This scares me so much I don’t want to go to town. To those who think they have nothing to hide, are you so sure there is nothing that the deep state wants to know that you don’t want to share? Or what if it should make a mistake because you look like somebody else? What if the somebody else is also innocent? What if the crime you are guilty of is hating the deep state?


i appreciate the sentiment but i fear the approach betrays a lack of recognition of reality.

On the one hand, the reality is that these corporations are joined at the hip with governments. Neoliberalism has been an effective take-over of government by corporations, with the imposition of extreme wealth inequality, austerity, and hollowing out of what there was of social democracy and representative democracy.

On the other hand, even if we drove a wedge between these effectively merged actors, and these corporate behemoths declined to share their facial recognition products with the national security state, the state will certainly develop similar tech soon enough if it has to.

And on that necessary third hand, AI is accelerating on multiple fronts besides facial recognition, and if we think “interested parties” in the various sectors of the corporte / national security state will not seek to exploit these in multiple ways, we are delusional. We need to think much bigger than simply slowing some particular advance, or restraining some particular impulse to exploit. We need to see a future radically different from the present, and we need to educate ourselves and organize to act to dis-empower the corporate state, and radically restructure society to prevent such accumulation of vast wealth and power by individual egos, corporate persons, and the national security state.

Otherwise we are fooling ourselves.


Hi webwalk, and it seems too that hackers are getting great at redoing photos, or erasing and changing language and audio , so that who knows what is real. On the other hand, I suppose that hackers could turn things around and focus on those in government who are trying to control everyone, and ironically end up with the government people getting stuck inside their own intricately created traps. Has this already been a movie, or just one waiting to be made? : )

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A 98% probability of facial recognition isn’t good enough, and all too often these days “98%” leads to spectacular software fails. The sales department orders the engineers, “Never show the slightest fear!” And so, too often 98% = 100%.

An automated car had to decide whether the white in the road ahead was the sky or the side of a white tractor-trailer. In order to help the company pass its tests the software chose sky and it plowed right through the intersection at full speed. Oops. Another automated car saw a fire truck parked right in the middle of the freeway where a fire truck should never be, so it stayed in its lane and plowed full speed into the fire truck which was putting out a fire and protecting the car in front of it.

The world is littered with software packages that were rolled out to meet deadlines and then they failed spectacularly.

Ted Kennedy was the name of an Irish Republican Army soldier, so the name “Ted Kennedy” was put on a terrorist watch list. As a result, Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts was held off of a plane because his name was on a terrorist watch list.

Facial recognition software was for the most part tested by white male engineers. Now it can’t seem to recognize women of color with the same degree of confidence. Maybe they all look alike?


Too late, that ship sailed a long time ago. Google, Amazon and Microsoft are de-facto monopolies, that have that status (and concentrated wealth) because they are heavily invested in by the Transnational Capitalist Class (TCC) which also heavily invests in the MIC, fossil fuels as well as Corporate Media.

Read: “Giants: The Global Power Elite” by Peter Phillips. In it you’ll find out why we are in a permanent state of war, why we are moving toward world war III, why corporate media is propaganda, why we have greater and greater inequality, why we are becoming ever more like a police state, why we overthrow states, why we destabilize regions and why we have made no headway on climate disaster mitigation. And lastly, (does it need to be said?) why progressives never get anywhere. The TCC own the place, they own our political system. “Our democratic norms” are fig leaves covering up the reality that our world is controlled by Finance Capital. The TCC controls over $40 TRILLION in assets!

Basically, if you want to know where global capitalism is going (and the US is dominant here), find out what organizations like the Trilateral Commission, the G30 and the Atlantic Council are thinking.


I couldn’t agree more with your post. It’s better to fight for a world where it doesn’t matter if people (companies, government, other people) can find out a lot more about you - we need less benovelent actors because the other fight is unwinnable. Government funds a LOT of tech research obviously - they aren’t limited by a few big companies.

Also we need to trumpet the well known progressives who got out there and didn’t let fear stop them even when the FBI was a lot more malovelent than it is now (like MLK) and many today. You don’t need facial recognition to know where Medea Benjamin is - she’ll tell you.

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"You don’t need a weatherman to tell you which way the wind blows?

Whoops. That should read less manavolent actors.

With Facial Recognition Technology at ‘Crossroads,’ 90 Groups Urge Amazon, Google, and Microsoft Not to Collude With Big Brother

Really. WTF??

We can’t beg the powerful to give us what we want. We’re going to have to make them give it to us.


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First, we have to know what we want. Seems to me there is very limited popular understanding, let alone any consensus, regarding the implications of accelerating AI technologies or networked social media. (Not to even mention similar popular confusion regarding the need to address existing technologies like energy infrastructure in order to address already cascading mega-crises like ecological collapse…)

How we gonna get on the same page?

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Why such a timid, weak proposal? If Amazon heeds this demand, that
won’t protect the privacy of our movements. Face recognition on our
streets would be no less Orwellian if some other company implemented

What we need is a firm law that prevents face recognition. We should
prohibit deployment by any entity of network-connected cameras that
are suitable parts of a system of massive surveillance, except
pursuant to a court order that is specific in time and place.


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