Alexa … Does Amazon Spy on Politicians?

OCTOBER 6th 2020: A House Judiciary Committee report calls for Congress to break up Big Tech companies. The Democratic-led report concludes after a 16-month probe that Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple stifle competition and wield "monopoly power". - File Photo by: zz/Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx 2017 12/14/17 Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos at the premiere of "The Post" in Washington, DC.

That is the question European lawmakers are posing to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. In a letter written to the head of Amazon, 37 members of the European Parliament expressed their concerns about Amazon’s efforts to find and root out any union activity within the company’s ranks.

The letter focused on a pair of job listings for “intelligence analysis,” which were posted by Amazon and then later removed. The Parliament members wrote, “We are concerned about whether European trade unions, as well as local, national, or European elected representatives, are affected by [Amazon’s] approach to ‘threat monitoring,’ which aims to repress collective action and trade union organizing.”

The European Parliament was also concerned about a couple of phrases within the job application, as it stated that the applicants would be focused on “labor organizing threats against the company” and also mentioned “hostile political leaders.”

The letter specifically addressed these concerns: “We … question the definition of ‘hostile political leaders’ described in the recent job posts hitherto mentioned. Who does it concern? Has Amazon already spied on members of the European Parliament? Did it intend to?”

In the United States, Amazon has been successful in keeping union activity at bay. In Spain and France, specifically, labor unions have resulted in Amazon workers going on strike. In Europe, Business Insider has reported that Amazon workers are exchanging ideas virtually on how to organize. It’s pretty clear through Amazon’s latest actions that it is not interested in that happening.

Quite the week for Bezos. Grilled by politicians in Europe, faced protesters at his home in Beverly Hills. But being worth more than $175 billion probably takes a little of the sting off.

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