A multitude of concerns around devices like Alexa or Ring might make you reconsider purchasing an Amazon electronic. Check out Green America’s five reasons to skip Amazon electronics before letting Amazon into your home.
- In some Amazon Ring call centers, workers have ‘no choice’ but to sleep at work. NBC News reported that in the Philippines, after speaking up about their terrible working conditions, such as having no choice but to sleep at work, the conditions getting even worse afterwards. During the pandemic, requests to work from home have been denied, resulting in workers coming to the call center with flu-like symptoms. "People are scared because we don't know who has it and who doesn't have it," an Amazon Ring contractor said. "But people don't have a choice, because it's either you will be infected or you will die of starvation."
- Amazon’s Ring allows police to access your video footage. Forbes reports that you can opt out of allowing police access to your data, but “they can request the footage directly from Amazon if it has been uploaded to the cloud and the request is sent within 60 days of recording - even if you deny police access to that footage.” Though a similar video doorbell service, Nest, has stated that it would not share footage directly with police, experts do have privacy concerns about both services.
While Amazon was trying to generate positive PR with its statement on police brutality and “standing with the Black community”, it was busy firming up 29 new partnerships with police departments for the use of Ring as a tool of surveillance, which includes a police department just miles away from where George Floyd was murdered.
- Amazon has no public Restricted Substance List (RSL) or Manufacturing Restricted Substances List (MRSL) for electronics. Amazon does not share which harmful chemicals are and are not allowed in their supply chain; this means workers and consumers could be exposed to harmful chemicals with potentially lasting negative health consequences, and if the chemicals are improperly disposed of, it poses a big risk for communities surrounding production facilities and to our environment.
An RSL is a list of chemicals that are restricted or banned from the final consumer product, and an MRSL is a list of chemicals that are restricted or banned from the manufacturing process. Amazon has neither a public RSL or MRSL.
- Amazon hires thousands of people to listen to your conversations. Bloomberg reported individuals that are hired to review recordings from Alexa noted that sometimes they review “everything the speaker (Alexa) picks up, including background conversations—even when children are speaking. Sometimes listeners hear users discussing private details such as names or bank details…”
- Amazon is a huge polluter! This year, Amazon’s carbon emissions increased by 15%. In 2019, Bloomberg reported that “Amazon’s emissions exceed the reported totals of United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. as well as Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc. (Google’s parent company), Microsoft Corp. and Target Corp. Learn more and take Green America’s action here.
Bonus: Amazon is STILL selling dangerous electronics and electronics accessories to consumers! CNN reports: “Since 2016, at least 1,500 reviews, covering more than 70 items, have described products exploding, catching on fire, smoking, melting, causing electrical malfunctions or otherwise posing risks, according to an analysis of Amazon Basics electronics and appliances listed on its website.”