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)

Read the rest

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

Samuel L. Jackson to be the first Amazon Alexa celebrity voice

"And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee."

Deadline:

Samuel L. Jackson and other celebrities will lend their voices to Amazon’s Alexa devices in a new feature that will be available as a 99-cent upgrade, the tech giant announced at a major product reveal in Seattle...

Jackson “can tell you jokes, let you know if it’s raining, set timers and alarms, play music and more – all with a bit of his own personality,” according to the company’s official blog post. The company plans two versions of his voice — “explicit and non-explicit.”

screenshot via Pulp Fiction Read the rest

Police redeliver Amazon packages sent to cemetery

Officers in the Burlington, Massachusetts police department temporarily performed the work of Amazon drivers when a number of undelivered (misdelivered?) packages were found in a local cemetery. Read the rest

Sept 20: More than 900 Amazon employees pledge to walk out over climate inaction

More than 900 Amazon employees have pledged to walk off the job at 11:30PST on Sept 20 to protest the company's inaction on climate change as part of Greta Thunberg's Global Climate Strike: they are demanding an end to donations to climate-denying politicians and PACs; kicking oil and gas companies off of Amazon's platforms; and for Amazon to be zero emissions by 2030. Read the rest

Amazon's plan for traffic deaths from same-day delivery: deflect blame to anonymous subcontractors

Amazon's got a tried-and-true way to deal with the negative consequences of high-speed ecommerce logistics: use subcontractors who can absorb the blame for the human toll wrought by the machine-like pace it demands of its workers. Read the rest

Amazon breaks embargo on Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale sequel

Bookstores don't have it on sale yet, but Amazon is already shipping out Margaret Atwood's The Testaments, her long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid's Tale. The impromptu exclusive—apparently Amazon breaking a publisher's embargo—has enraged and terrified booksellers.

The Guardian:

A number of angry independent booksellers have taken to social media to vent about the fact that Amazon violated the embargo set by Penguin Random House; the publisher instructed retailers to withhold the book from customers until its September 10 on-sale-date.

On Tuesday night, Astoria Bookshop (Queens, N.Y.) owner Lexi Beach posted on Twitter that some consumers had already received their pre-ordered copies of The Testaments from Amazon, while booksellers, like herself, were still abiding by the embargo.

Instagram user @JAMNPP posted that he had pre-ordered The Testaments “months ago” from Amazon, and received it in the mail yesterday. “I just figured they’d changed the date but now I checked! I don’t know how I got it a week early,” he wrote. Another Amazon customer, @LateBloomer, shared on Twitter that they had received the book, adding that they were “discouraged that Amazon would fail to abide by the release date, to the detriment of our beloved indie booksellers.” This comment earned a sharp rebuke from Beach, who responded, “If you’re that concerned, why did you order from Amazon?”

Hit up your local independent bookstore and pick up a copy with your own two hands. Read the rest

Ring: "We don't use facial recognition"; also Ring: "We have a head of facial recognition research"

One of the most obvious facts I've learned in covering the unfolding scandal of the secret deals between Amazon's Ring surveillance doorbell group and hundreds of US police departments is that Amazon loooooves to play word-games. Read the rest

Amazon testing 'Orville' biometric tech that scans your hands to pay at Whole Foods, stores will use it starting early 2020

Your hands are your ID. New payment system for Whole Foods being tested by Amazon now.

Amazon's government charm offensive: bringing lawmakers in for warehouse tours

In an apparent attempt to soften criticism of its business practices under President Donald Trump, Amazon is offering lawmakers private tours of its giant warehouses. Read the rest

The saddest song: setting the "Amazon Ambassador" borg-tweets to music

Jonathan Mann (previously) writes, "Like many people, I've been disturbed by the borg-like tweets coming out of the Amazon Ambassador program. I took a few of the bleakest ones and set them to music. It turned into an incredibly sad song." Read the rest

Amazon pays happy warehouse workers to tweet about how happy they are whenever someone complains about warehouse conditions

Nelsie writes, "Twitter user tweeting about inhuman conditions at Amazon warehouses gets brigaded by tag-team of warehouse workers who are paid to tweet about working at Amazon warehouses two days of the week." Read the rest

Facial recognition: Amazon adds 'fear' to range of emotions Rekognition can detect

Amazon is a major federal contractor. AWS powers ICE raids and detention camps.

Prior to Amazon acquisition, Ring offered "swag" to customers who snitched on their neighbors

Amazon is under fire over revelations that it did secret deals with local police departments to buzz-market its Internet of Things "Ring" brand surveillance doorbells, but Ring's shady history predates its acquisition by Amazon in 2017. Read the rest

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