Amazon sued over illegal

Amazon Sued Over Illegal Storage of Employee Biometric Data

Lawyers from the firm of McGuire Law P.C. of Chicago filed a class action complaint on November 15, against Amazon Web Services (AWS) accusing AWS of violating the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act (BIPA).  

This lawsuit is the latest in a series of BIPA violation suits filed against major enterprises across the state of Illinois. The act aims to defend the individual from having their biometric data recorded, saved, or used without their signed consent. 

The lawsuit specifically targets the storage provided by AWS on its server network for employers and other “commercial customers” who have scanned and captured so-called biometric data from employees, customers, and others. 

According to the complaint, “Defendant (AWS) stores a myriad of types of data on behalf of a wide range of customers spanning virtually every industry sector.” “Notably, Defendant (AWS) also offers cloud storage services for businesses that handle biometric identifiers and biometric information. For example, some of the Defendant’s customers are commercial businesses that require their employees to provide their biometrics, e.g. fingerprints, to check-in and out of their shifts at work.”

The lawsuit alleges that AWS “converts this information into usable formats and mediums for its customers.”

Over the course of the last few years, the 2008 BIPA law has been used to target giant tech companies like Google and Facebook over facial recognition programs. But it has fundamentally been focused against employers across all spectrum of industries who demand biometric data from their workers. This biometric data can be in the form of fingerprint scans or other biometric modalities in order to verify the identity of the worker when punching a time clock for work shifts or when obtaining sensitive data or secured areas. 

Amazon Challenges Pentagon’s $10 Billion Contract To Microsoft

Amazon Challenges Pentagon’s $10 Billion Contract To Microsoft

Amazon said on Thursday, that it is going to challenge a $10 billion contract awarded to Microsoft last month by Pentagon. Amazon called the decision-making process prejudiced and tainted by “political influence.” 

The Department of Defense had been considering a number of bids for a cloud computing project, “Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure” or JEDI initiative. The project, that has been delayed for a long period of time, is supposed to update the computing infrastructure of the Pentagon. Most of the agency’s technology relies on systems from the 1980s and 1990s. 

A number of people had expected the contract would be awarded to Amazon Web Services, which commands about 48% of the cloud computing market share. Over the past year, President Donald Trump has increased his attacks on Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. Weighing in on the contract, he said in July, that he had considered intervening in the award process. 

“Great companies are complaining about it,” Trump said at that time, mentioning that this contract was one of the “biggest” ever. “So we’re going to take a look at it. We’ll take a very strong look at it.”

Last Friday on November 8, Amazon officially filed a notice to protest the decision and it is being filed in the US Court of Federal Claims. A spokesperson for Amazon Web Services said in a statement to HuffPost, 

“AWS is uniquely experienced and qualified to provide the critical technology the U.S. military needs and remains committed to supporting the DoD’s modernization efforts. We also believe it’s critical for our country that the government and its elected leaders administer procurements objectively and in a manner that is free from political influence. Numerous aspects of the JEDI evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors and unmistakable bias and it’s important that these matters be examined and rectified.”

Pentagon has more than 500 separate cloud systems throughout the military and through JEDI, it is intended to unify all the systems under one umbrella. This will help Pentagon keep up with the developments n the civilian computing industry.