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15 Jun 2018

As You Sow, Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment & Walden Asset Management & 16 other investors

Letter from shareholders to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos regarding Rekognition

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According to multiple news reports–confirmed by Amazon—our Company has developed and is selling to law enforcement agencies, marketed as part of Amazon Web Services (AWS), a facial recognition system called Rekognition. The undersigned Amazon shareholders are concerned such government surveillance infrastructure technology may not only pose a privacy threat to customers and other stakeholders across the country, butmayalso raise substantial risks for our Company, negatively impactingour company's stock valuation and increasing financial risk for shareholders. To date, we have seen no evidence of our Board of Directors conducting fiduciary oversight on how Rekognition may or may not, should or should not, be deployed. The recent experience and scrutiny of Facebook demonstrates the degree to which these new issues may undermine company value as the detrimental impacts on society become clear. While Rekognition may be intended toenhance some law enforcement activities, we are deeply concerned it may ultimately violate civil and human rights.

... [W]e are also concerned sales may be expanded to foreign governments, including authoritarian regimes. Without protective policies in place, it seems inevitable the application of these technologies will result in Amazon's Rekognition being used to identify and detain democracy advocates. We believe our Company needs toimmediately halt the expansion, further development, and marketing of Rekognition, and any other surveillance technologies, to all governments and government agencies, until there is a clear demonstration our Board of Directors has undertaken appropriate fiduciary oversight and placed appropriate guidelines and policies in place to safeguard therights of our customers, shareholders, other stakeholders and citizens.