General Keith Alexander, former director of the National Security Agency, who oversaw the illegal mass espionage of Americans, was appointed to Amazon's board of directors, attracting the wrath of privacy advocates, including Edward Snowden.
Amazon has announced that Alexander, who served as director of the NSA from 2005 until his retirement in March 2014, will join the company's board of directors as of today.
"We're thrilled to elect a new member to our Board of Directors this month. Welcome, General Keith Alexander!" can be read on the e-commerce giant's Twitter news profile.
— Amazon News (@amazonnews) September 9, 2020
However, some, including former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, were not "enthusiastic" about the appointment.
🚨🚨 It turns out "Hey Alexa" is short for "Hey Keith Alexander." Yes, the Keith Alexander personally responsible for the unlawful mass surveillance programs that caused a global scandal. And Amazon Web Services (AWS) host ~6% of all websites. 🚨🚨https://t.co/6hkzsHjxh9
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) September 9, 2020
Snowden noted that while Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosts nearly 6% of all websites, the figure seems even more overwhelming "if you measure it by traffic rather than number of sites.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald, a Snowden ally who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his report on the US intelligence machine's global mass surveillance program, tweeted that Alexander's nomination revealed only the true face of Amazon.
"Gen. Keith Alexander was the head of the NSA when he secretly built a massive national surveillance system aimed at Americans - what an appeals court has just ruled probably illegal. Amazon has just appointed him to its board of directors, proving once again who they are," said Greenwald.
Gen. Keith Alexander was head of NSA when it secretly built a massive domestic surveillance system aimed at Americans - the one an appeals court just ruled likely illegal.
Gen. Keith Alexander was head of NSA when it secretly built a massive domestic surveillance system aimed at Americans - the one an appellate court just ruled likely illegal.
Amazon just appointed him to its Board of Directors, again showing who they are:https://t.co/6s5VAeRIMK
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) September 9, 2020
Nothing to see here, except that the former NSA spy chief Keith Alexander is on the board of directors of Amazon which has CIA contracts and a monopoly on many services on the internet. pic.twitter.com/vgC2JYiiaa
— Esha (@eshaLegal) September 9, 2020
Last week, a federal appeals court ruled that the "bulk collection" of data used by the NSA was illegal, with Snowden hailing the decision as a milestone in the government's fight against espionage.
Even without a former head of espionage with a less-than-exceptional reputation for privacy protection on its board of directors, Amazon faced increasing rejection of its intrusive high-tech devices, including workers, as reported in this report. Its virtual assistant Alexa was caught red-handedly recording intimate conversations of unsuspecting family members, while its new fitness tracker "Halo" promises to scan users' bodies and keep track of emotions in their voices.