Pressure is increasing against Amazon's continued involvement in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), while Whole Foods employees are now demanding that the company stop liaising with the agency through its business with controversial government contractor Palantir. The claims, published in a public letter earlier today by the Whole Foods association group Whole Worker, address harsh words to the parent company of the grocery chain, which Amazon bought for $ 13.7 billion in 2013.
The letter specifically calls Amazon's rule "dystopian" , and Whole Foods employees say they will continue to fight the company by leaking information and trying to undermine policies and business conditions that lead to the deportation of undocumented people and other rights violations.
The organization Whole Worker, which mostly consists of current, but also some former employees, claims responsibility for the leaked 45-minute Union-breaking video Amazon distributes internally to employees. The video and edited clips from it have since spread throughout the world since it leaked in September last year, most recently landing on an episode of John Oliver's Last Week Tonight focusing on Amazon's stock.
Although Amazon does not provide services directly to ICE, it provides cloud computing resources to companies such as Palantir that provide ICE software and other forms of technical support. Amazon has also tried to sell its controversial face recognition software, called Rekognition, to ICE, as mentioned by a letter written by Amazon employees last year demanding that CEO Jeff Bezos quit selling and try to sell the platform to law enforcement.
Amazon has recently provided cloud-based database support to many immigration enforcement agencies, according to a report last fall put together by activist groups that detailed technology companies related to the Trump administration's immigration intervention.
"As a full-time employee, we work with our Amazon AWS staff and demand Jeff Bezos cease all business with Palantir and any other company involved in the continued suppression of marginalized groups," the letter reads. “We also stand firm with our employees and ask that Amazon terminate the sale of the face recognition software, Recognition, for law enforcement. The software has already been proven to be racially biased, and the last thing an increasingly fascist law-enforcement culture needs is additional tools for mass surveillance. ”
We have reached out to Amazon for comment and will update this story when we hear back.