MacKenzie Bezos, who just months ago divorced the world’s richest man, has pledged to give away half her fortune to charity. The former wife of Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos is one of the 19 new signatories to the Giving Pledge who have promised to donate more than 50% of their wealth, the organization said.
“I have a disproportionate amount of money to share,” MacKenzie Bezos said in a letter released Tuesday. “My approach to philanthropy will continue to be thoughtful. It will take time and effort and care. But I won’t wait. And I will keep at it until the safe is empty.”
Bezos’ personal fortune is worth nearly $37 billion, making her the 22nd-richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The Giving Pledge was created by billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates in 2010. It asks the world’s wealthiest people to promise to give away half their wealth during their lifetimes or in their wills.
Bezos’ former husband, who is worth an estimated $114 billion, has not yet signed the pledge but tweeted his support for his ex-wife’s decision. “MacKenzie is going to be amazing and thoughtful and effective at philanthropy, and I’m proud of her,” he said on Twitter.
Other billionaires who have signed the Giving Pledge include Elon Musk, oil baron T. Boone Pickens, Michael Bloomberg, Richard Branson, and WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton and his wife, Tegan. (VOA)
Civil rights groups have criticised Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos for a statement that his company is working on its own regulation framework for the controversial facial recognition technology.
Appearing before the media at his company’s annual product event where it launched a slew of new smart home devices, Bezos said: “Our public policy team is actually working on facial recognition regulations; it makes a lot of sense to regulate that.
“It’s a perfect example of something that has really positive uses, so you don’t want to put the brakes on it,” added Bezos, according to Recode.
“But, at the same time, there’s also potential for abuses of that kind of technology, so you do want regulations. It’s a classic dual-use kind of technology,” he told the reporters.
The announcement to write own regulations for the face recognition technology which been in the controversy for long did not go well with the activist groups.
“Amazon wants to write the laws governing facial recognition to make sure they’re friendly to their surveillance-driven business model,” Evan Greer, deputy director of Fight for the Future, was quoted as saying in a Fox News report.
“This type of technology is uniquely dangerous. It poses a profound threat to the future of human liberty that can’t be mitigated by industry-friendly regulations,” he added.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the tech giant needs to do more than propose a legislation.
“If Amazon is really interested in preventing these dangers, the first thing it should do is stop pushing surveillance tools into our communities without regard for the impact,” the ACLU’s senior legislative counsel Neema Singh Guliani said in a statement.
Amazon isn’t the only tech company calling for regulating the facial recognition technology.
Microsoft and its President Brad Smith are also urging governments to enact legislation regarding the technology.
The tech industry needs to step up and do more to address challenges related to regulation, said Smith in his new book titled “Tools and Weapons”.
Given the potential for abuse of the fast advancing facial recognition technology, governments across the world need to start adopting laws to regulate this technology in 2019, Smith said last year.
“Unless we act, we risk waking up five years from now to find that facial recognition services have spread in ways that exacerbate societal issues,” warned Smith in a blog post.
“The use of facial recognition technology by a government for mass surveillance can encroach on democratic freedoms,” he said in December last year.
New technology should not be banned or condemned because of its potential misuse. Instead, there should be open, honest, and earnest dialogue among all parties involved to ensure that the technology is applied appropriately and is continuously enhanced,” the company said in a February blog post.
Amazon offers “Rekognition” — a facial recognition tool that has been used to spot criminals.
In August, the ACLU found that “Rekognition” tool wrongly flagged more than two dozen California lawmakers as criminal. In another test last year, it marked 28 members of Congress as criminals. (IANS)