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[Boycott - Divestment]

London Protest Demands Microsoft Divest From AnyVision, Respect Palestinian Human Rights


inminds
8 November 2019



Protest demands Microsoft divest from AnyVision & respect Palestinian human rights



Protest demands Microsoft divest from AnyVision & respect Palestinian human rights

On 8th November 2019, Inminds Human Rights Group held a vigil outside Microsoft's flagship store in Oxford Circus to demand Microsoft respect Palestinian human rights by divesting from AnyVision, a company which is actively helping the Israeli military carry out secret illegal mass surveillance of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. In June this year Microsoft has shamefully, in contravention of its own corporate social responsibility policy on human rights, invested up to $31 million in AnyVision.

Inminds chair Abbas Ali said "Israel's surveillance of Palestinians in the West Bank is the most intrusive, unaccountable, and ruthless use of facial recognition in the world.. and Microsoft is bang in the middle of it with its investment in AnyVision. Microsoft extols its six ethical principals to guide its facial recognition technology, yet in reality it breaks all six of those principles with AnyVision. Not only that, but Microsoft is breaking international law with its partnership with AnyVision, whose systems forms part of the separation wall apparatus declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004. We are here to demand Microsoft end this duplicitous partnership and begin to respect Palestinian human rights."


AnyVision

AnyVision is an Israeli defence contractor specialising in facial recognition technology, led by former Israel military and intelligence personnel. Its co-founder and CEO Eylon Etshtein is from the Commando Recon Unit of the Israeli army; its president Amir Kain is former head of Malmad - the Israeli Defense Ministry's security department; and former head of Israeli intelligence -Mossad, Tamir Paro heads their advisory board.

Partnership with Israeli Military

AnyVision runs two projects for the Israeli military.

Firstly, AnyVision provides facial recognition systems used by Israel at illegal military checkpoints deep inside occupied territory to restrict and control Palestinian freedom of movement in their own land. AnyVision systems forms part of the separation wall apparatus declared illegal by the International Court of Justice in 2004. The UN reported in 2011 that there are 522 checkpoints and roadblocks obstructing Palestinian movement in the West Bank, and a further 495 ad-hoc 'flying' checkpoints each month. AnyVision technology is at the heart of these checkpoints. By investing in AnyVision, Microsoft is breaking international law and is in breach of the judgement of the International Court of Justice.

Secondly, AnyVision has developed a secret advanced tactical surveillance system where hidden cameras deep inside the West Banks are used to secretly conduct mass surveillance of West Bank Palestinians. Enabling the Israeli military to identify individuals in any live camera feed and track targets as they move between different feeds. AnyVision employees have aptly nicknamed this “Google Ayosh,” where “Ayosh” means occupied Palestinian territories and “Google” denotes the technology’s ability to search for people - to instantly locate any Palestinian on the West Bank.

The surveillance project was so successful that AnyVision won Israel’s top defense prize in 2018. During the presentation, Israel’s defense minister lauded the company — without using its name (as it was classified) - and revealed that it achieved its goals through using “large amounts of data.” AnyVision claims their system is designed for real-time mass crowd detection and recognition, with detection time of 0.2 seconds per database of up to 300 million individuals. According to Harvard researcher Yael Berda, 12 years ago Israel already had a list of 200,000 Palestinians it wanted to monitor in the West Bank - thats a fifth of the male population of the West Bank. These included people who had just criticized Israel on Facebook, or happened to be living in a village where Hamas is popular.



Protest demands Microsoft divest from AnyVision & respect Palestinian human rights



Protest demands Microsoft divest from AnyVision & respect Palestinian human rights



Protest demands Microsoft divest from AnyVision & respect Palestinian human rights



Protest demands Microsoft divest from AnyVision & respect Palestinian human rights










AnyVision claims to have deployed its technology across more than 115,000 cameras. In October 2019 Palestinian boys found a video camera camouflaged as a rock, hidden by Israeli security forces in concrete in a village cemetery near Kober village. The surveillance device, which included a transmitter and battery, was made by AnyVision. AnyVision denied involvement but insisted it could not "discuss partner relationships".

Palestine a testing ground for AnyVision


One former employee of AnyVision revealed that AnyVision’s executives considered the West Bank to be a testing ground for its surveillance technology. Having been field tested on Palestinians, the technology has now been rolled out to the rest of the world where the company now makes 95% of its revenue.

Not Compatible With Microsoft Human Rights Commitment


Human Rights Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union has pointed out that the use of AnyVision's facial recognition technology against a captive population under illegal military occupation does not comply with Microsoft's much touted ethical principles, including that of "lawful surveillance" which specifically says Microsoft "will advocate for safeguards for people’s democratic freedoms in law enforcement surveillance scenarios and will not deploy facial recognition technology in scenarios that we believe will put these freedoms at risk."

Furthermore, Microsoft’s Global Human Rights Statement asserts “Microsoft is committed to respecting human rights. We do this by harnessing the beneficial power of technology to help realize and sustain human rights everywhere.”


The Protest

Microsoft's flagship store is located at the intersection of Regent Street and Oxford Street - Europe's busiest shopping street with around half a million daily visitors. Microsoft customers entering the store snapped up over 500 leaflets in no time. They were shocked that Microsoft was involved in the illegal checkpoints, and in Israel's mass surveillance of Palestinians. They felt that for them Bill Gates reputation as a humanitarian had been shattered by this revelation. Some scanned the QR code, given in the leaflet, on their mobiles to sign the petition by Jewish Voices for Peace asking Microsoft to drop AnyVision. We took the opportunity to enter the Microsoft Store and give the manager a leaflet, which she accepted.

Whilst the public were very sympathetic to the protest, there was one troll (isn't there always one?), an apartheid apologist, who tried and failed miserably to disrupt us. He initially called the police demanding they shut us down as the protest was illegal as we did not have a permit, the police explained that a protest doesn't need a permit. He then argued it wasn't a protest but a street performance, because we were playing music. When that didn't work, he complained that the words in Lowkey's 'Free Palestine' song which we were playing were offensive and racially aggravating. When the police didn't accept that, he then moaned that the banners and leaflets were anti-Semitic as they criticised Israel, at least this move got the police to actually take a leaflet and read it (before they were shying away from accepting a leaflet). When the police couldn't find anything offensive in the leaflet or banners, he next lied that one of our activists was racially aggravating towards him, before disappearing. A couple of hours later he reappeared, upset that the protest hadn't been shut down, he again lied to the police that another of our activists was anti-Semitic. He picked on the wrong activist, she was Palestinian. When the police approached the elderly activist, she replied ' how dare they! I am the original Semite here, my family were ethnically cleansed from our home in Palestine! " At this stage the police were apologetic and didn't pursue his lies any further. They ignored him when he next moaned that the whole protest was a manifestation of antisemitism.



Moan, moan, moan.. apartheid apologist tires the police with his complaints..



Protest demands Microsoft divest from AnyVision & respect Palestinian human rights



Protest demands Microsoft divest from AnyVision & respect Palestinian human rights



Protest demands Microsoft divest from AnyVision & respect Palestinian human rights

More Information


Petition: Tell Microsoft: Drop AnyVision
https://secure.everyaction.com/JCZWsJRwukKJqFL_Eh35zw2

TELL MICROSOFT: #DROPANYVISION
https://dropanyvision.org/

Why did Microsoft fund an Israeli firm that surveils West Bank Palestinians?
Oct. 28, 2019, 9:02 AM GMT By Olivia Solon
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/all/why-did-microsoft-fund-israeli-firm-surveils-west-bank-palestinians-n1072116

This Israeli Face-recognition Startup Is Secretly Tracking Palestinians
Jul 15, 2019 8:52 AM Amitai Ziv
https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/business/.premium-this-israeli-face-recognition-startup-is-secretly-tracking-palestinians-1.7500359

Microsoft funded an Israeli firm that surveils West Bank Palestinians, according to NBC News investigation
Mon, Oct 28 20191:27 PM EDT By Olivia Solon
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/28/microsoft-funded-israeli-company-that-spied-on-west-bank-palestinians.html

Microsoft funded an Israeli facial recognition startup whose tech is reportedly being used to secretly surveil Palestinians
Oct 29, 2019, 4:01 AM By Aaron Holmes
https://www.businessinsider.com.au/microsoft-funded-face-recognition-tech-reportedly-surveils-palestinians-2019-10

Microsoft Slammed For Investment In Israeli Facial Recognition ‘Spying On Palestinians’
Aug 1, 2019, 10:00am By Thomas Brewster, Forbes Staff
https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasbrewster/2019/08/01/microsoft-slammed-for-investing-in-israeli-facial-recognition-spying-on-palestinians/#61cab2cb6cec

Microsoft revealed to be funding Israeli surveillance on Palestinians
November 7, 2019 By Ramzy Baroud
https://mondoweiss.net/2019/11/microsoft-revealed-to-be-funding-israeli-surveillance-on-palestinians/


RESOURCES




Leaflet - Microsoft respect human rights - Drop AnyVision



Placard - Microsoft funds Israel's military surveillance of Palestinians - Tell Microsoft #DropAnyVision



Placard - Why is Microsoft funding Israeli checkpoints declared illegal by International Court of Justice?




Protest demands Microsoft divest from AnyVision & respect Palestinian human rights



Protest demands Microsoft divest from AnyVision & respect Palestinian human rights



Protest demands Microsoft divest from AnyVision & respect Palestinian human rights



Protest demands Microsoft divest from AnyVision & respect Palestinian human rights


Source: www.inminds.com


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