Technology

12 arrested at Massachusetts Amazon building in ICE protest

Twelve people were arrested Thursday at a Cambridge, Mass., Amazon building as they protested for an end to private companies' cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, police said.

Cambridge Police Department spokesman Jeremy Warnick told The Hill that the 12 individuals were arrested on trespassing charges after officers attempted to escort them out of the Amazon building peacefully. 

The group of demonstrators, organized by "Never Again Action: Jews Against ICE," began protesting in Boston, causing traffic issues throughout the city. The group similarly protested in July Boston Magazine reported, disrupting traffic in a demonstration against immigrant detentions and conditions at federal detention facilities.

Protesters ended up at the Amazon building in Cambridge, where they stayed in the lobby for a little less than two hours. The group said it was demonstrating against Amazon's contracts with ICE, according to a video posted on its Facebook page.

 

The group specifically condemned Amazon's reported attempts to sell its controversial facial recognition technology to the agency. Amazon pressed ICE to buy its "Rekognition" facial recognition software, which has come under scrutiny for disproportionately identifying people of color as targets, according to documents obtained by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).

ICE already makes use of some facial recognition software, but that technology does not have the ability to scan live crowds of people for possible undocumented migrants. 

The Hill has reached out to Amazon and ICE for comment on the Thursday night protest.

Other tech companies, including Palantir, have faced scrutiny over their work with ICE. 

Tech activists engaged in a multiday protest of Palantir's work with ICE in May following revelations that the company's products helped facilitate the arrests of more than 400 immigrants. Amazon workers last year asked Amazon Web Services to stop hosting Palantir because of its contract with ICE.

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