Wesley Baucom, Staff Editor
When the world keeps building up, those on the ground struggle to see the top as those soaring heights continue to rise towards the stars. Then again, those who stay at the top can hardly even see the ground either and decisions are being made carelessly without regard for that separation. Whatever the distance, wherever that dividing line lies, it’s only growing bigger and more elastic day by day. The clearest-cut example of such a division lies at the hands of Jeff Bezos and in the heart of Amazon.
Recently Amazon had announced that it would be writing its own protocol over facial recognition software, all the while working closely with government law enforcement. The application dubbed “Rekognition” is a software in which users provide an image and then would be given an in-depth analysis of the object or person in the given photo. With this, certain law enforcement agencies have approved of the technology for enforcement purposes, while other states have banned the technology altogether. There are reasons for this. For one, the recognition software would be used to identify criminals. Some law enforcement, like agencies in Detroit, has already been using similar technology for some time now.
Although some states, like California, have outright banned the software for body cameras after it “falsely” identified 28 Congress members of being criminals when comparing their photos to mugshots of known criminals. Though if you were to ask me, the technology is already working well in regard to recognizing lawbreakers—and isn’t it funny that the technology was only banned once people in power were threatened? Regardless, the fact remains that not only is this a potential threat to anyone’s privacy, but from the way it’s portrayed, anyone could snap a photo and have your identity without your expressed consent. The ACLU has stated that such a technology would open the doors to more surveillance, citing Orlando, Florida as a case of widespread surveillance as cameras with the software on cameras sprawling “all over the city.” “Rekognition” is still in the developing stages though, with many more updates and fine-tuning to come. Amazon is even writing its own policy on the matter, which would then be submitted to lawmakers. The thing is, by penning their own rules while working closely with government agencies, Amazon will write these laws in such a way that will put them at an advantage and to everyone’s hindrance. We should all know by now that the government doesn’t have the greatest track record when it comes to surveilling their own citizens, and now this new surge of technology that was once only dreamed up by dystopian authors is slowly becoming our reality.
Jeff Bezos at this moment is sitting somewhere on the top-floor of Amazon Headquarters, planning his vision for humanity’s future. He’s looking up at the sky while making sure his “Blue Origin” space project is set to break the atmosphere, and Amazon workers sweat fulfilling two-day deliveries in a cut-throat warehouse. Meanwhile, as he sits on the top of his throne, the hounding faces of those below him are being recorded and stored, but their thoughts are not—unless they clicked on a targeted ad. What it seems is that Bezos forgets the people who support him. He started off in the book-dealing business, making knowledge easier to obtain, but now he and his organization are taking more information than they’re willing to give back. Selling products not only for knowledge or well-being, but products that bolster the feelings of dreaded fear. The customer-business relationship has gone sour, and the support that’s holding Amazon up will only deteriorate from here.And soon the high-rises they sit on will collapse if they keep ignoring the roots of the people which they themselves have unearthed.