Amazon is holding a high stakes shareholder vote on whether or not to limit some of its cutting edge technology, Shareholders hold back their own company because of users’ privacy when they’re offline//Natasha Singer, The New York Times
An image on the Amazon website shows how its Rekognition software works with Chief Executive Jeff Bezos. Facial recognition software is coming… (Amazon via The New York Times)More
Facial recognition software is coming under increasing scrutiny from civil liberties groups and lawmakers. Now Amazon, one of the most visible purveyors of the technology, is facing pressure from another corner as well: its own shareholders.
As part of Amazon’s annual meeting in Seattle today, investors vote on whether the tech giant’s aggressive push to spread the surveillance software threatens civil rights — and, as a consequence, the company’s reputation and profits.
Shareholders have introduced two proposals on facial recognition for a vote. One asks the company to prohibit sales of its facial recognition system, called Amazon Rekognition, to government agencies, unless its board concludes that the technology does not facilitate human rights violations. The other asks the company to commission an independent report examining the extent to which Rekognition may threaten civil, human and privacy rights, and the company’s finances.
“This piece of equipment that Amazon has fostered and developed and is really propagating at this point doesn’t seem to us to be in the best interest of the common good,” said Sister Pat Mahoney, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph, a religious community in Brentwood, New York, that is an Amazon investor and introduced the proposed sales ban. “Facial recognition all over the place just makes everyone live in a police state.”
The proposals are nonbinding, meaning they do not require the company to take action, even if they receive a majority vote.
Amazon fought to prevent the votes on facial surveillance. In a letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission in January, the company said that it was not aware of any reported misuse of Rekognition by law enforcement customers. It also argued that the technology did not present a financial risk because it was just one of the more than 165 services Amazon offered.
The agency disagreed, ultimately requiring Amazon to allow the facial surveillance resolutions to proceed.
In a statement, Amazon said it offered clear guidelines on using Rekognition for public safety — including a recommendation that law enforcement agencies have humans review any possible facial matches suggested by its system. The company added that its customers had used Rekognition for beneficial purposes, including identifying more than 3,000 victims of human trafficking.
WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump said on May 10 that trade talks between China and the United States were continuing in a “very congenial manner” despite new tariffs Washington imposed on Friday on $200 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing’s vow to retaliate.
In a series of blustering morning tweets, Trump also claimed the new tariffs will help rather than hurt the United States and bring “FAR MORE wealth.” He offered a proposal he said would ease any negative impact on U.S. farmers from lost sales to China.
U.S. and Chinese negotiators planned to continue talks on Friday in an effort to resolve the standoff after the United States raised tariffs on Chinese imports, escalating tensions between the world’s two biggest economies and rattling stock markets around the world.
“Tariffs will make our Country MUCH STRONGER, not weaker. Just sit back and watch!” Trump tweeted.
The talks in Washington were thrown into disarray this week after top U.S. trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin accused the Chinese of reneging on commitments they’d made earlier.
“China should not renegotiate deals with the U.S. at the last minute,” Trump tweeted. “There is no need to rush through negotiations because ‘massive payments’ the Chinese are now paying go directly into the Treasury of the U.S.”
Trump suggested that money from the additional tariffs would allow the United States to buy more agricultural goods from American farmers and ship the produce to “poor & starving” countries.
Trump tweeted that if the United States bought $15 billion in agriculture from farmers it would be far more than China buys now. He also said the United States would have more than $85 billion left over for new American infrastructure, health care or other programs.
It was unclear what numbers Trump was using to make his point. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, China bought $9.2 billion in U.S. agricultural exports in 2018.
“Our Farmers will do better, faster, and starving nations can now be helped,” Trump tweeted. He provided no detail about what he meant. “Waivers on some products will be granted, or go to a new source!”
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Beijing is hoping the Trump administration will meet China “halfway” in the dispute over trade. The spokesman, Geng Shuang, spoke just hours after the U.S. raised tariffs on Friday on $200 billion in imports from China to 25% from 10%.
China said it would take unspecified countermeasures.
In this Wednesday, May 8, 2019, photo, a barge pushes a container ship to the dockyard in Qingdao in eastern China’s Shandong province. President Donald Trump’s latest tariff hikes on Chinese goods took effect Friday and Beijing said it would retaliate, escalating tensions in fight over China’s technology ambitions and other trade strains. (Chinatopix via AP)
BEIJING (AP) — President Donald Trump’s latest tariff hike on Chinese goods took effect Friday and Beijing said it would retaliate, escalating a battle over China’s technology ambitions and other trade tensions.
The Trump administration raised duties on $200 billion of Chinese imports to 25% from 10%. China’s Commerce Ministry said it would impose “necessary countermeasures” but gave no details.
The increase went ahead even after American and Chinese negotiators began more talks in Washington aimed at ending a dispute that has disrupted billions of dollars in trade and shaken global financial markets.
In this Wednesday, May 8, 2019, photo, a delivery man bearing U.S. commerce giant Amazon’s brand is seen in downtown Beijing. China said Thursday it will retaliate if President Donald Trump goes ahead with more tariff hikes in a fight over technology and trade, ratcheting up tensions ahead of negotiations in Washington. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
“The risk of a complete breakdown in trade talks has certainly increased,” said Michael Taylor of Moody’s Investors Service in a report.
American officials accuse Beijing of backtracking on commitments made in earlier rounds of negotiations.
The talks were due to resume Friday after wrapping up Thursday evening with no word on progress.
“China deeply regrets that it will have to take necessary countermeasures,” said a Commerce Ministry statement.
Shares in Asia were mixed Friday amid renewed investor jitters that global growth might suffer in the battle between the two biggest economies and international traders.
Business groups appealed for a settlement that will resolve chronic complaints about market barriers, subsidies and a regulatory system they say is rigged against foreign companies.
Companies disagree with tariff hikes but “are supportive of the idea in the short term if it helps us get to a strong, enforceable, long-term agreement that addresses structural issues,” said Greg Gilligan, the deputy chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China
This April 23, 2017, photo released by Xinhua News Agency, shows a container dock of Yangshan Port in Shanghai, east China. U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest tariff hikes on Chinese goods took effect Friday, May 10, 2019 and Beijing said it would retaliate, escalating tensions in fight over China’s technology ambitions and other trade strains. (Ding Ting/Xinhua via AP)
The latest increase extends 25% duties to a total of $250 billion of Chinese imports. Trump said Sunday he might expand penalties to all Chinese goods shipped to the United States.
Beijing retaliated for previous tariff hikes by raising duties on $110 billion of American imports. But regulators are running out of U.S. goods for penalties due to the lopsided trade balance.
Chinese officials have targeted operations of American companies in China by slowing customs clearance for them and stepping up regulatory scrutiny that can hamper operations.
The latest U.S. increase might hit American consumers harder, said Jake Parker, vice president of the U.S.-China Business Council, an industry group. He said the earlier 10 percent increase was absorbed by companies and offset by a weakening of the Chinese currency’s exchange rate.
A 25 percent hike “needs to be passed on to the consumer,” said Parker. “It is just too big to dilute with those other factors.”
Despite the public acrimony, local Chinese officials who want to attract American investment have tried to reassure companies there is “minimal retaliation,” said Parker.
“We’ve actually seen an increased sensitivity to U.S. companies at the local level,” he said.
The higher U.S. import taxes don’t apply to Chinese goods shipped before Friday. By sea, shipments across the Pacific take about three weeks, which gives negotiators a few more days to reach a settlement before importers may have to pay the increased charges.
The negotiators met Thursday evening. Then, after briefing Trump on the negotiations, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin dined with the leader of the Chinese delegation, Vice Premier Liu He.
Liu, speaking to Chinese state TV on his arrival in Washington, said he “came with sincerity.” He appealed to Washington to avoid more tariff hikes, saying they are “not a solution” and would harm the world.
“We should not hurt innocent people,” Liu told CCTV.
At the White House, Trump said he received “a beautiful letter” from Chinese President Xi Jinping and would “probably speak to him by phone.”
The two countries are sparring over U.S. allegations Beijing steals technology and pressures companies to hand over trade secrets in a campaign to turn Chinese companies into world leaders in robotics, electric cars and other advanced industries.
This week’s setback was unexpected. Through late last week, Trump administration officials were suggesting that negotiators were making steady progress.
U.S. officials say they got an inkling of China’s second thoughts about prior commitments in talks last week in Beijing but the backsliding became more apparent in exchanges over the weekend. They wouldn’t identify the specific issues involved.
A sticking point is U.S. insistence on an enforcement mechanism with penalties to ensure Beijing lives up to its commitments. American officials say China has repeatedly broken past promises.
China wants tariffs lifted as soon as an agreement is reached, while U.S. officials want to keep them as leverage to ensure compliance.
“A real enforcement mechanism is critical,” said the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai in a statement.
Also Thursday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Trump in a phone call to press China to release two Canadians who have been held for five months.
The men were detained in apparent retaliation after Canada arrested an executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei on U.S. charges of bank fraud.
Westover is self-taught, but her impact on the world has been to educate the rest of us—about the silos we live in and the obstacles faced by so many in our society. We all have teachers, some we know intimately, others who inspire from the page or the screen. This holds true even for the most accomplished people on earth. Our annual TIME 100 issue is filled with tributes from teachers to students; in many cases, the surprise is who is playing which role today.
Warren Buffett praises the leadership of LeBron James, whom he met (on a basketball court!) more than a decade ago. Legendary chef Alice Waters recounts how rising food-world star Samin Nosrat—who began her career working for Waters—helped show her how to cook with care. London Mayor Sadiq Khan calls New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s swift, compassionate response to the shootings at Christchurch mosques “an inspiration to us all.” Viola Davis reveals her lifelong admiration for fellow Oscar winner Regina King, praising her for elevating artists of colour and “making me feel seen.” And Bill Gates, whose upbringing could not be more different from Tara Westover’s, shares what she taught him about overcoming our divides.
Photographs by Pari Dukovic for TIME
In many ways, these connections—forged across and among industries—are the heart of the TIME 100, which now, in its 16th year, is far more than a list. It is a community of hundreds of global leaders, many of whom support and challenge one another. And at a time when so many of our problems require cross-disciplinary solutions, they are also uniquely positioned to effect change. “When you connect extraordinary people,” says Dan Macsai, editorial director of the TIME 100, “they can do even more extraordinary things.”
This year, for the first time, we have invited some members of our TIME 100 community to speak at a TIME 100 Summit in New York City. Joining us will be participants from the worlds of politics and business—including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and former Senator Bob Corker—as well as amazing artists, scientists, actors and activists who reflect the remarkable breadth of the TIME 100. Our goal is to spotlight the progress these individuals are making and encourage collaboration toward a better world. “We are only as good as the people that we have around us,” says chef and activist José Andrés, a two-time TIME 100 honoree, who will speak at the summit about how to improve disaster relief. “TIME 100 makes all become one.”
TIME Ideas hosts the world’s leading voices, providing commentary on events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of TIME editors.