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UNITED STATES OF AMERICA will not reopen. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has retained the powerful and secretive data company Palantir to develop a health care tracking and forecasting platform, and has ordered health providers to provide Palantir with daily updates on their inventories of essential medical supplies.19 Unlike competitors such as package delivery services Fedex and UPS and the grocery shopping service Instacart, Amazon uniquely operates its own private infrastructure covering every aspect of sourcing, routing, and last-mile delivery of goods. Particularly in major urban and suburban areas, Amazon now supplies people sheltering in their homes with everything from groceries to personal care supplies to supplies and equipment for teleworking. Its decisions about sourcing and distribution therefore have vast policy ramifications. Early in the pandemic, Amazon’s platformbased structure facilitated hoarding and profiteering on high-demand items.20 Additionally, the rapidly intensifying public demand for home delivery of essential supplies tested even Amazon’s formidable logistical capabilities. Amazon responded to these disruptions in ways calculated to position itself as the emergency supplier of first and last resort. Its expanded suite of house-branded offerings for groceries and personal care supplies, and its decision to prioritise delivering those orders, were sensible components of a centrally coordinated emergency response, but they also caused additional harm to small merchants operating on the platform and already struggling to survive.21 Increased public reliance on Amazon’s home delivery services has also laid bare the extent to which those processes rely on the embodied, physical labour of warehouse workers and delivery drivers. Amazon has responded aggressively to worker demands for protection by rolling back its already inadequate sick leave policy, cracking down on unionisation efforts, and firing workers agitating publicly for better treatment.22 So far, congressional efforts to address worker well-being have been stymied by the Senate and the White House, where the health and welfare of bluecollar workers newly recognised as essential have become bound up with deeply racialised stances on public health, public welfare, and the rights and privileges of citizenship.23 Dispatches

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Profile for Meatspace Press

Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives  

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how social, economic, and political power is created, exerted, and extended through technology. Through c...

Data Justice and COVID-19: Global Perspectives  

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how social, economic, and political power is created, exerted, and extended through technology. Through c...

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