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Amazon Co-opting Local Governments Putting Individual Rights at Risk

For too long, big tech companies like Amazon, Google and Facebook have infringed on rights.

They’ve even provided data to government agencies and foreign governments.

Now they are going even further.

You won’t believe what Amazon is getting from Arlington, Virginia.

It’s true that Amazon’s latest expansion into Virginia will bring jobs, new development and could result in increased revenues, and housing market booms.

But it’s also true that the details of incentive packages given to Amazon are just now coming out, and include massive tax breaks, corporate welfare, and more.

And just today Arlington, Virginia spokesmen were scrambling to defend one item given to Amazon that has liberty-loving Virginians up in arms.

According to a story in local newspaper INSIDENOVA;

“The Arlington government’s top attorney says there’s nothing improper about part of the county’s incentive deal with Amazon that gives the company notice of Virginia Freedom of Information Act filings related to the agreement.”

It turns out that one item given to Amazon is notice within 48 48 hours of any Freedom of Information Act request made with Arlington County that in any way involves Amazon.

While County Attorney Stephen McIsaac said there was “nothing ethically wrong with doing so”, he ignored the overriding issue of why corporate giants like Amazon are allowed such quick notice of FOIA requests, what constitutes Amazon-related, and what Amazon’s notice means for those filing the request.

Additionally, in trying to defend this action, McIsaac let slip that Arlington County has the same agreement with other corporations, giving them the leg up on individuals in any dispute.

Such notice gives these tech giants like Amazon the ability to roll out their high paid Gucci-wearing lawyers and lobbyists to quash any FOIA requests they don’t like.

It also puts Arlington at risk of being unable to meet state law which requires localities to respond to FOIA requests no later than five business days from the receipt of any such request.

Huge high-tech companies like Amazon, Google and Facebook are already involved in things like data mining, photo scraping and providing government agencies with data without the knowledge of the individual users of the sites.

Giving them the power to shut down FOIA requests just to see what is being done with taxpayer money or what programs they are supporting is a bridge too far, say many liberty activists.

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And all of this ignores the fact that there have already been more than 28,000 complaints about FOIA requests.

It is likely there will be many more with this agreement.

We will keep you updated.

 

 

 

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