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Whistleblower claims Amazon violated UK sanctions by promoting facial recognition tech to Russia

An ex-employee has accused Amazon of breaching UK sanctions by promoting facial recognition expertise to Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine, The Monetary Occasions reported.

Charles Forrest alleged that he was unfairly dismissed in 2023 after accusing Amazon of wrongdoing on numerous points between November 2022 and Could 2023, in accordance with the article. The allegations have been introduced to a London employment tribunal as a part of a listening to this week.

Forrest stated that Amazon closed a take care of Russian agency VisionLabs to supply entry to its Rekognition facial recognition expertise. It did that “by what seems to be a shell firm primarily based within the Netherlands,” in accordance with the tribunal filings. He additionally accused the corporate of breaking its self-imposed moratorium on police use of facial recognition tech carried out after the homicide of George Floyd.

Amazon denied the allegations. “We imagine the claims lack benefit and sit up for demonstrating that by the authorized course of,” a spokesperson informed the FT. “Based mostly on accessible proof and billing information, AWS didn’t promote Amazon Rekognition providers to VisionLabs.”

Forrest was let go for “gross misconduct” after refusing to work his contractual hours and failed to reply to emails or attend conferences, Amazon alleged. It denied that Forrest made the types of disclosures that might entitle him to whistleblower protections.

Amazon appeared to acknowledge that it had breached its ban on police use of facial recognition tech, whereas including that it did not break any legal guidelines. “A self-imposed moratorium doesn’t quantity to a authorized obligation,” it stated.

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