Posted on November 9, 2021
Fight for the Future is defending our rights online with help from CREDO members
Fight for the Future is fighting to ensure that technology is a force for empowerment, free expression, and liberation rather than tyranny, corruption, and structural inequality.
As an intentionally small, fierce team of artists, engineers and activists, they have been behind the largest online protests in human history, channeling outrage into political power to win victories.
Thanks to our members, Fight for the Future received a $51,557 grant this April to continue their important work — and here is just a small sample of some recent victories and new projects that our donation helped to enable.
Holding Amazon Accountable
Two years after Fight for the Future began working to end Amazon’s partnerships with local police departments, Amazon announced that it would no longer allow law enforcement to privately ask Ring camera owners for video footage. This is a huge concession. They also imposed limits on geographic location, amount of inquiries per incident, and restricted video requests for lawful incidents like protests. But this policy shift does not change the fundamental dangers or racial profiling that accompanies widespread use of Amazon’s interconnected cameras in homes, mailboxes, and vehicles. So in the coming months Fight for the Future will be working to push lawmakers to protect people by banning corporate surveillance partnerships with the police, starting at the local level with city council ordinances and direct pressure on progressive mayors.
This past summer, as the one-year anniversary of Amazon’s moratorium on selling facial recognition tech to the police approached, Fight for the Future, Media Justice, the Athena Coalition, and other civil rights groups, called for a permanent ban. After groups met with shareholders and held protests in cities across the country, Amazon announced a moratorium on selling Rekognition to police ‘until further notice.’ This is a big victory but the groups are still calling for Amazon to completely divest from facial recognition technology.
Banning facial recognition surveillance in retail stores
Fight for the Future led a coalition of 35+ organizations to launch the first major campaign to ban facial recognition surveillance in retail stores. In just a few weeks, its scorecard campaign has resulted in 19 major brands like Wal-Mart, Target, Lowe’s and CVS to say they won’t use facial recognition in their stores or on their employees.
But Macy’s has doubled down on its use — it’s actually the only retailer that has confirmed it uses facial recognition and tried to justify its use — which is why Fight for the Future targeted the department store in a back-to-school action. The group rented a mobile billboard and drove it outside Macy’s downtown D.C. location to draw attention to the company’s use of facial recognition, especially on kids. Now Fight for the Future is working to build a list of small and local businesses that have pledged not to use facial recognition and endanger customers and workers in their stores. This strategy follows other private-sector facial recognition campaigns, like those against festivals and college campuses. The group is continuing to pick sectors where the threat is real, and where they think they can make headway with interrupting the spread of facial recognition as we continue to fight for legislative bans on the technology.
If you’d like to learn more about Fight for the Future’s important work defending our rights in the digital age, please visit their website and take action on a recent campaign, or follow them on Twitter or Instagram.