Surveillance allegations – Amazon in Klagenfurt: criticism of the giant company

The giant company Amazon comprises much more than just an online mail order business: the company, founded in 1994 by computer scientist Jeff Bezos as an electronic book store, is now a listed company and operates worldwide. The Amazon empire is repeatedly exposed to harsh criticism – from poor working conditions to surveillance allegations.

The main business is the online trade in books, CDs, videos and other goods, there is also the integrated sales platform “Marketplace”, where private individuals or other companies offer products. In addition, Amazon offers a range of electronic products and services:

  • the e-book reader “Kindle”
  • Tablet, TV box and “Fire” HDMI stick
  • the Echo voice recognition system
  • the streaming service Prime Video

The group is one of the leading service providers for cloud computing and achieved sales of 386 billion US dollars (330.9 million euros) in 2020. With 2020 sales of 914 million euros in Austria, Amazon is also at the forefront of the domestic e-commerce market.

Tactics create controversy and criticism
The Amazon empire is criticized almost continuously: The group is accused of anti-competitive tactics, it is supposed to copy or falsify products of other companies, influence search results, spy on marketplace dealers, monitor its employees partly with cameras and is known for generally extremely poor working conditions.

For example, there are premiums for infrequent sick leave. In March 2021, it became known that delivery workers were forced to urinate in bottles due to lack of access to sanitary facilities. Amazon denied this, but internal memos show that this is well known as a problem.

Amazon False Testimony Before US Congress?
Internal documents suggest that Amazon is systematically exploiting its position of power, for which founder Jeff Bezos had to answer to the US Congress in 2020 – he said no. In October 2021, Bezos was accused of having misled or even lied to Congress at the time – that could have criminal consequences for Amazon.

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