Amazon removes Auschwitz-themed Christmas ornaments

You can sell anything on Amazon, until you get noticed, and in the age of computer-generated copycats it can pretend not to even know what's for sale there. So it comes to pass that Amazon has now removed the Auschwitz-themed Christmas ornaments, which have been noticed.

The Christmas merchandise featured images from Auschwitz including the railway line leading to its infamous gates, the barbed wire fences and the buildings where it housed victims - mainly Jews. The memorial and museum later posted an update to say the items had been removed and thanked social media users for their "activity and response" after the post attracted thousands of retweets.

Sadly, Stephen Miller's christmas is not yet ruined. Similar products are still available to those who know what they're looking for.

But later Auschwitz Memorial posted again to say "sadly, it's not over yet".

It said it had found a "disturbing online product" from another seller - a computer mouse-pad bearing the image of a freight train used for deporting people to the concentration camps.

Read the rest

Amazon secretly planned to use facial recognition and Ring doorbells to create neighborhood "watch lists"

Ring is Amazon's surveillance doorbell division, and a big part of their sales strategy involves terrifying people about the possibility of crime, partnering with police to assist in terrorizing Ring owners, and to provide police with warrantless, permanent, shareable access to surveillance doorbell footage (something the company has repeatedly lied about). Hundred of police departments have now partnered with Ring and they act as buzz-marketing teams for the company in exchange for freebies and access. Read the rest

Trump pledged that Amazon would be forced to pay its taxes; thanks to his #taxscam, their profits went up and their taxes stayed $0.00

Amazon's tax bill in 2017 was $0. Trump was very vocal in his disgust at this situation and pledged he would make them pay their fair share. It's been a year, and Amazon's profits are way up ($11.2 billion!) but their tax bill remains precisely $0.00. Thank the #taxscam. Read the rest

How to add the Google Play Store to your 2019 Amazon Fire 10 HD tablet

The very first thing I did with my new Amazon Fire HD 10 was to install the Google Play Store.

I love Amazon's bargain tablets, they are a cheap Android device with heavy integration into Amazon. I ignore the shopping and love the Prime Video. Installing Google Play store gives me access to all the stuff Amazon doesn't provide: Gmail, Chrome and thousands of Android apps.

The process is very simple and only requires you download and permit four .apks to install (all files come from APK Mirror):

You will have to permit the files to be installed as Amazon doesn't love Google as a source.

First: Google Account Manager 7.1.2 (Android 6.0+) Second: Google Services Framework 9 (Android 9.0+) Third: Google Play services 19.6.29 (100300-278422107) (100300) Fourth: Google Play Store 17.5.18-all [0] [PR] 280467566 (nodpi) (Android 4.1+)

This is my fourth such Amazon tablet and I have never had an issue with Amazon trying to block this activity.

The new Amazon Fire HD 10 has some decent CPU and memory upgrades. I am trying it out this week and will review soon. Thus far, its the same as the old one but faster and with a slightly better screen.

All-New Fire HD 10 Tablet (10.1" 1080p full HD display, 32 GB) via Amazon Read the rest

Amazon unhappy Microsoft won $10 billion 'war cloud' Pentagon contract

Donald Trump has long made a sport of mocking Amazon founder and Washington Post newspaper owner Jeff Bezos, and Jeff Bezos is well aware of this. Read the rest

Amazon spent a fortune to block a socialist candidate's re-election to Seattle city council; she won anyway

Former tech worker Kshama Sawant (previously) won an unprecedented victory in 2013 by running for Seattle city council as on the Socialist Alternative ticket, raising unprecedented sums in small-money donations, and then winning the election after a last-minute surge in the polls. Read the rest

Amazon PR accidentally confirms the existence of a fictional dystopian Amazon technology

The New York Times has been publishing a series of "Op-Eds From The Future," giving fiction writers a chance to imagine our hellish circumstances to come. Read the rest

Did "The Phantom Menace" actually predict the rise of Jeff Bezos and Amazon?

Well, no, probably not. Also the dialogue remains objectively terrible. But tumblr user swan2swan makes a fairly convincing argument that the actual plot of Star Wars Episode 1 is eerily reminiscent of our present predicament:

https://swan2swan.tumblr.com/post/171120920177/the-phantom-menace-is-the-best-movie-ever-because

 

The Phantom Menace is the best movie ever because the entire premise is essentially “Amazon has obtained its own private army and now two future samurai have to stop it from forcing Natalie Portman’s planet to use its services by cutting through Jeff Bezos’s army of robots and attempting to convince Congress to do something about it SPOILER WARNING Congress doesn’t do jack so Natalie Portman has to take matters into her own hands also the day is saved by a redneck kid the samurai picked up when the car broke down”.

And I thought it was bad enough just thinking about how Trump could use Palpatine's tactics to cancel Election Day 2020.

Image via Hannford/Flickr and DoD/Flickr Read the rest

10,000 people are calling for Congress to investigate Amazon Ring

Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "Amazon Ring's surveillance doorbell partnerships with police are spreading like a virus. There are already more than 500 of them across the country. We can fight them at the local level, but at this scale we need Congress to intervene. Amazon is refusing to be transparent about its own policies and relationships with law enforcement. That's why more than 10,000 people have already called on Congress to investigate and demand answers about the impact these partnerships have on our privacy and civil liberties. If you're concerned, you can add your voice here." Read the rest

What's cooler than being cool? Hundreds of musicians protesting ICE and Amazon

Stop, collaborate, and listen: Amazon's complicit in ICE's extraditions (plus other abuses of human rights enabled by that agency's authoritarian agenda)

That's why hundreds of musicians—nearly 500, at the time of this writing, though it was just over 100 when news broke Thursday morning—have signed onto an open letter pledging to boycott Amazon festivals, events, and other exclusive deals until the tech giant stops enabling the systematic abuses of Immigration Customs Enforcement. The list of signatories includes Guy Picciotto of Fugazi, as well as Ted Leo, Immortal Technique, Downtown Boys, Thursday, WHY?, Jeff Rosenstock, the Mowglis, War on Women, Diet Cig, Tim Kasher (of Cursive/The Good Life), and many more.

These are the demands for Amazon, directly from that open letter:

Terminate existing contracts with military, law enforcement, and government agencies (ICE, CBP, ORR) that commit human rights abuses

Stop providing Cloud services & tools to organizations (such as Palantir) that power the US government's deportation machine

End projects that encourage racial profiling and discrimination, such as Amazon's facial recognition product

Reject future engagements w/ aforementioned bad actors.

I signed my own band onto the list earlier this week, after catching wind of the movement on Twitter. (I tried to pull our songs from all Amazon-affiliated services, but our distro service makes that difficult to do.) My friends in the Kominas mentioned something about it, and then I noticed Deerhoof interacting with Sadie Dupois of Speedy Ortiz and Sad13, following up on the recent op-ed by Tom Morello and Evan Greer of Fight For The Future (both musicians and activists in their own rights). Read the rest

#NothingButDragnet: EFF calls on @Shaq to stop endorsing police partnerships with Amazon's creepy, surveilling Ring doorbells

Amazon's Ring surveillance doorbells are part of a secretive, nationwide police surveillance network, with cops being offered covert incentives to act as street-teams to buzz market the products, and with Amazon repeatedly misleading the public and reporters about when and how police can gain access to footage from the cameras. Read the rest

It's dismayingly easy to make an app that turns a smart-speaker into a password-stealing listening device and sneak it past the manufacturer's security checks

German security researchers from Security Research Lab created a suite of apps for Google and Amazon smart speakers that did trivial things for their users, appeared to finish and go dormant, but which actually stayed in listening mode, then phished the user for passwords spoken aloud to exfiltrate to a malicious actor; all their apps were successfully smuggled past the companies app store security checks. Read the rest

Orthodox Jewish owned businesses sell a lot of stuff on Amazon

“This is like the Gold Rush in the 1840s.”

Mike Monteiro put a pro-union message for Amazon workers on his new book's cover

Designer/activist Mike Monteiro added a pointed pro-Union message to the cover of his new, print-on-demand book that Amazon workers would perhaps see when they print copies to ship to customers. The Amazon-specific cover to Ruined by Design: How Designers Destroyed the World, and What We Can Do to Fix It made it through their approval process and is visible on the product page, for the moment anyway.

From The Verge:

While Monteiro says he’s sold over 10,000 copies of the book so far, only 150 paperbacks have been printed since he changed the cover, which isn’t a lot of opportunities for it to catch the right person’s eye.

Monteiro says he was working on some union organizing when he came up with the idea: “We were discussing how to get messages in front of people and I realized ‘Oh, huh. I have this thing that Amazon workers see every time a book gets ordered. Let’s put a message there.’”

Ruined by Design: How Designers Destroyed the World, and What We Can Do to Fix It (Amazon)

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Civil rights groups call for a stop to Amazon's doorbell surveillance partnerships with cops

Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "More than 30 civil rights organizations, including Fight for the Future, Color of Change, National Immigration Law Center, and CAIR, have signed an open letter calling for elected officials to investigate Amazon Ring’s business practices and put an end to all Amazon-police surveillance partnerships. This is the first major action taken by groups to pressure lawmakers to address these partnerships and the threats they pose to privacy, civil liberties, and democracy. Our elected officials are supposed to protect us, both from abusive policing practices and corporate overreach. These partnerships are a clear case of both. If you're concerned about Amazon's surveillance partnerships, there's a petition you can sign to your local elected officials here." Read the rest

Supreme Court greenlights lawsuit over Amazon's wage-theft from warehouse workers

Amazon and its contractors are notorious for their wage-theft from warehouse workers, who are required to endure lengthy, unpaid delays while they wait to have their bags and bodies searched for stolen goods; a group of workers sued Amazon and one of its contractors, Integrity Staffing, under a Nevada state law. Read the rest

Amazon wants to draft model facial recognition legislation

Between its line of Ring-brand surveillance doorbells and its "Rekognition" facial recognition product (both of which are used in law-enforcement and immigration-enforcement contexts), Amazon is at the center of the controversy over facial recognition technology. Read the rest

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