Bezos: Amazon Will Continue To Work With DoD

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) will continue to work with the U.S. Department of Defense or DoD despite criticism from its employees and privacy activists, the company’s Founder and Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said Monday.

“If big tech companies are going to turn their back on the DoD, this country is going to be in trouble,” Bezos said during the Wired25 conference in San Francisco.

“We are going to continue to support the DoD, and I think we should. One of the jobs of senior leadership is to make the right decision, even when it’s unpopular,” Bezos added.

Amazon has already worked on projects with the DoD. The company’s facial recognition software – Amazon Rekognition – has been used by several law enforcement agencies.

Amazon employees and civil liberties organizations have criticized the company for providing the software to police departments, saying that the facial recognition software could be used to violate human rights.

In May, the American Civil Liberties Union or ACLU and other privacy activists urged Amazon to stop selling its facial recognition software to police departments. The privacy activists claim that the “technology poses a grave threat to customers and communities across the country.”

Amazon is currently seen as a top contender for the Pentagon’s multi-billion dollar cloud computing contract. Amazon Web Services or AWS is the only company approved by the U.S. government to handle secret and top secret data.

The Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure or JEDI cloud contract could be worth up to $10 billion over a decade if all options are exercised.

Amazon’s rival Google has decided not to compete in the cloud computing contract, saying last week that the project might not align with its artificial intelligence or AI principles.

In addition, Bezos’ space startup Blue Origin has recently won a major contract to provide engines for a new rocket being designed by United Launch Alliance or ULA.

ULA is a venture co-owned by U.S. government contractors, Boeing Co. (BA) and Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT) to launch high-priority national security satellites for the U.S. government.

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