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Amazon Faces Tribunal Over Alleged Russia Sanctions Breach

A whistleblower says that Amazon violated UK sanctions by providing facial recognition technology to Russia.


Former employee Charles Forrest has alleged that the company violated UK sanctions by providing technology to following the invasion. The claims, reported by the Financial Times were made during a tribunal against Amazon Web Services (AWS), where Forrest also contends he was wrongfully terminated after voicing these concerns.

Whistleblower Claims Sanctions Violation

Forrest, who worked for Amazon until 2023, asserts that the reason given for his dismissal was “gross misconduct“, citing irregular attendance and missed meetings. He alleges that Amazon sold its Rekognition technology to VisionLabs, a Russian enterprise, using a Dutch intermediary, a transaction supposedly conducted post-UK sanctions.

The London tribunal hearing revealed Forrest's belief that his 2023 dismissal was a direct outcome of his whistleblower activities from November 2022 to May 2023. He maintains that his allegations against Amazon led to his termination.

Additionally, Forrest claims Amazon breached its self-imposed moratorium on using facial recognition technology by police, introduced after George Floyd's death. He alleges UK police used this technology to process mugshots and identify suspects, despite the moratorium. In response, Amazon admits that Forrest raised this issue but denies any legal obligations from the moratorium.

Amazon's Response

Amazon has rejected these assertions, stating that Forrest's termination was due to his inadequate job performance. They argue that they never sold Rekognition to VisionLabs, referencing billing records as evidence. Moreover, Amazon questions the legitimacy of Forrest's claims related to international sanctions violations and argues that he did not make any “protected disclosures”.

Previously, Amazon affirmed that it did not offer facial recognition services to police or sell the technology to VisionLabs. However, no comment was made regarding whether VisionLabs obtained the technology through an intermediary.

Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus is the founder of WinBuzzer and has been playing with Windows and technology for more than 25 years. He is holding a Master´s degree in International Economics and previously worked as Lead Windows Expert for Softonic.com.

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