GeekWire Podcast: Tech and the police; Amazon sues former VP; remembering Manny Vellon

Here’s what we’re talking about this week on the GeekWire Podcast:
As protests over police violence continue across the country, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft all announce they won’t sell their controversial facial recognition software to law enforcement. But Amazon says it will only stop for a year. That earned the company some goodwill, but racial justice and civil rights groups called it a trivial concession.

Is Amazon’s facial recognition moratorium a victory for police reformers or just good PR?
Microsoft promises not to sell facial recognition tech to police before Congress passes regulations
Amazon bans police use of its Rekognition facial recognition software for one year amid protests

Non-compete agreements are back in the news as Amazon sues one of its former executives for taking a job at Google Cloud. We take a look at what’s behind this always-controversial contract provision and whether its days may be numbered.

Why Amazon can sue a former cloud VP for joining Google despite state’s new non-compete law
Amazon is worried that Brian Hall, a former Amazon Web Services marketing vice president, might spill secrets to his new employer, Google Cloud.
The company is in court trying to prevent Hall from working on speeches and slides for the upcoming Google Cloud Next event.

And the return of the Random Channel!

GeekWire Producer Curt Milton gets his first haircut in months as COVID-19 restrictions begin to life in Seattle, but finds things are far from back to normal.

Monica Nickelsburg weighs in on a new startup that lets you rent a piece of an indoor, vertical farm. It’s a cool idea but a pricey way to get your salad.
And GeekWire Editor Todd Bishop talks about the life affirming nature of researching and writing obituaries, including a recent one on a towering figure in Seattle tech, Manny Vellon .

Listen above, and subscribe in any podcast app.

With GeekWire’s Todd Bishop and Monica Nickelsburg. Produced by Curt Milton. Theme music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.