Don’t know how I missed this story yesterday, but what the heck? Like the article says, nothing particularly new revealed by these stunts, but it’s still a compelling critique of Amazon. link to “Amazon Let Its Drivers’ Urine Be Sold as an Energy Drink | WIRED”
This morning, I read an excellent piece by Lam Thuy Vo at The Markup expressing concern about how services like Amazon’s Ring cameras can distort police priorities and perpetuate bias. Here’s a good summary passage: As a reporter, I’ve always been interested in systems that disadvantage some people—when it comes to policing, they are often Black or Latino—while prioritizing the wishes of a smaller, much more powerful subset—often affluent White folks.
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Amazon’s ‘Neighborhood Watch’ Might Be Turning Police Officers Into ‘Reddit Moderators’ – The Markup'
Public-private surveillance is the worst of both worlds. Ring is creepy. link to “Amazon’s ‘Neighborhood Watch’ Might Be Turning Police Officers Into ‘Reddit Moderators’ – The Markup”
Amazon: also the worst. link to “Sellers say Amazon undercuts their prices, charges high fees : NPR”
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Amazon reportedly used a secret algorithm to jack up prices - The Verge'
What a gross idea. link to “Amazon reportedly used a secret algorithm to jack up prices - The Verge”
Amazon is too big, and while I’m not a policy expert, I welcome government efforts to keep it in check. link to “FTC files a massive antitrust lawsuit against Amazon - The Verge”
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Author discovers AI-generated counterfeit books written in her name on Amazon | Ars Technica'
I’m not thrilled about AI’s ability to do this, but let’s be clear: Amazon is as much to blame here, and I like them even less. link to ‘Author discovers AI-generated counterfeit books written in her name on Amazon | Ars Technica’
So many of our conveniences depend on someone else doing work we wouldn’t want to do ourselves. link to ‘Someone Has to Deliver Your Packages in This Scorching Heat | WIRED’
Hear hear. Ring is a creepy company, and we shouldn’t support them. link to ‘Why We Don’t Recommend Ring Cameras | WIRED’
Look, this is the kind of book that I bought knowing already that I’d agree with its thesis, so maybe you shouldn’t read my review of it. Nonetheless, I think Caine does an excellent job of bringing together many of the arguments against Amazon. This company is bad news, and while it’s hard to escape it entirely, I think the world would be a better place if more of us did less to support it.
As I’ve blogged about a couple of times recently, I’m currently reading R. Sikoryak’s Terms and Conditions, a graphic novel adaptation of the 2015 iTunes Terms and Conditions document, which no one ever reads. I was struck (if not surprised) by something stated explicitly in the document, which appears on p. 59 of Sikoryak’s volume: The software products made available through the Mac App Store and App Store (collectively, the “App Store Products”) are licensed, not sold, to you.
Someone’s paying the price for the convenience of shopping on Amazon. link to ‘Amazon Drivers Are Still Peeing in Bottles’
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on '‘Ring Nation’ Is a Terrible Idea That’s Unstoppable Because Amazon Owns Everything'
I missed the vertical integration aspect of this in earlier reporting I’ve read. It makes this story even worse. link to ‘‘Ring Nation’ Is a Terrible Idea That’s Unstoppable Because Amazon Owns Everything’
Such a bad idea. Normalizing Ring won’t make it any better—only worse. link to ‘‘Ring Nation’ Is Amazon’s Reality Show for Our Surveillance Dystopia’
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Why none of my books are available on Audible | Cory Doctorow's craphound.com'
Doctorow convinced me years ago that Audible was terrible, but here, he showed me just how bad they are. link to ‘Why none of my books are available on Audible | Cory Doctorow’s craphound.com’
Kiddo starts at a new school on Wednesday, and I’ve been putting off signing the Acceptable Use Policy and Chromebook Policy because I want to read them carefully. I don’t know how much I can do about anything that I’m really concerned with, but I’m a tech researcher when I’m not being kiddo’s dad, so I feel an obligation to be informed and raise a fuss when something is fussworthy.
Some good points about how Amazon owning Roomba is scarier than just Roomba existing on its own—even if I didn’t realize that Roomba was creepily mapping houses. link to ‘Amazon Buys Roomba Company, Will Now Map Inside of Your House’
Amazon keeps getting bigger, and I don’t think that’s for the better. link to ‘Amazon Buying Roomba Maker iRobot for $1.7 Billion - WSJ’
It’s concerning to see private surveillance prop up public surveillance like this. link to ‘Amazon Admits Giving Police Ring Footage Without Consent’
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'You Don’t Own What You’ve Bought: Sony Removes 100s Of Movies Bought Through PS Store | Techdirt'
This is why I’m trying to buy more physical copies of things—or at least DRM-free stuff. I have lots of regrets about the size of my Kindle library, for example. link to ‘You Don’t Own What You’ve Bought: Sony Removes 100s Of Movies Bought Through PS Store | Techdirt’
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'Senator Declares Amazon Ring's Audio Surveillance Capabilities 'Threaten the Public' | Electronic Frontier Foundation'
I’ve been plenty spooked by Ring’s video capabilities, but apparently I haven’t been worried enough about its audio surveillance. link to ‘Senator Declares Amazon Ring’s Audio Surveillance Capabilities ‘Threaten the Public’ | Electronic Frontier Foundation’
🔗 linkblog: my thoughts on 'KY lawmakers advance data center tax incentives to woo tech giants | Lexington Herald Leader'
Amazon already has too big a footprint here. Don’t feel great about this. link to ‘KY lawmakers advance data center tax incentives to woo tech giants | Lexington Herald Leader’
So much ugh. Big Amazon presence here in KY, so wonder when we’ll start to see this. link to ‘Amazon Paid for a High School Course. Here’s What They Teach.’
Why shut down Alexa rankings??? link to ‘Amazon is retiring Alexa — no, not that one - The Verge’
🔗 linkblog: just finished 'The Amazon Privacy Nightmare. “What you search for, what you buy… | by Micah Sifry | Nov, 2021 | OneZero'
Very scary stuff here. link to ‘The Amazon Privacy Nightmare. “What you search for, what you buy… | by Micah Sifry | Nov, 2021 | OneZero’
The more pies Amazon has its fingers in, the more concerning it becomes. link to ‘Opinion | Don’t Let Amazon Eat the Film Industry - The New York Times’
Well played, The Onion. Well played. link to ‘Amazon Astro Leaks Data All Over New Carpet’
🔗 linkblog: just read 'Ivermectin misinformation has poisoned Amazon’s platform, with few fixes planned - The Verge'
Happy to say that my local indie bookstore does not have this problem. link to ‘Ivermectin misinformation has poisoned Amazon’s platform, with few fixes planned - The Verge’
Nope nope nope nope. If plate readers are going to become more common, I’ve got to start biking more places. Not that that will protect against Ring. 🤮🤮🤮 link to ‘Surveillance Startup Brings Police Tech to Neighborhoods - Bloomberg’
Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve spent a lot of money at my local bookstore and bikeshop, and it kills me that Amazon is threatening both. Granted, I haven’t been able to completely cut the Amazon cord (and I have friends who have only survived the past 18 months because of the company), but there has to be a better way. link to ‘As demand for bikes surged, Amazon got in the way - The Verge’
Amazon is just too big. This line stood out: “Amazon is now in the odd position of replacing stores that it helped kill off.” link to Amazon reportedly plans to open its own department stores - The Verge