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Amazon is selling facial recognition technology to law enforcement

23 May, 2018, 18:29 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • 'Recipe for authoritarianism': Amazon under fire for selling face-recognition software to police

According to its marketing materials, Rekognition is being marketed to governments and law enforcement, and documents obtained by the ACLU show it is now used by police in Orlando and Oregon's Washington County.

Amazon has dismissed concerns raised by civil liberties campaigners over its sharing of facial recognition technology with USA police forces, amidst concern that the technique could fuel growth of authoritarianism. Its impressive Rekognition technology is the flawless tool for government entities wishing to obliterate the idea of personal privacy.

Orlando has the ability to identify faces in real-time via a network of cameras located across the city.

Then there's the FBI's FACE Services Unit, which attempts to match an initial photo against images in state and federal databases, but isn't quite automated facial recognition, or so the agency insists.

Tech companies are trying to sell police real-time facial recognition systems, which can track and identify people as they walk down the street. "This product poses a grave threat to communities, including people of color and immigrants, and to the trust and respect Amazon has worked to build".

Orlando Police say while piloting the program, they're only using facial imaging from their own officers who volunteered on eight city-owned cameras.

Looking at sanctions against ZTE
Chinese officials had viewed the US punishment as an attack exposing their country's dependence on imports of key technologies. The Chinese had targeted soybeans, one of his state's top exports to the country, as one product for retaliatory tariffs.

Highlighting "the possibility that those labeled suspicious by governments-such as undocumented immigrants or black activists-will be targeted for Rekognition surveillance", the coalition of advocacy groups urged Amazon to "act swiftly to stand up for civil rights and civil liberties, including those of its own customers, and take Rekognition off the table for governments".

Amazon has handed new technology that can identify faces in the crowd to law enforcement.

The letter comes after the ACLU obtained new information about Amazon's efforts to help local law enforcement deploy Rekognition, an image recognition and analysis service. The ACLU specifically asked for any evidence that the public had been given an opportunity to discuss the use of this technology before its deployment, but no such evidence was provided. The objective of a pilot program such as this is to address any concerns that arise as the new technology is tested.

Amazon said in an emailed statement that it requires customers comply with the law, and if it learns that its services are being "abused by a customer", it suspends that customer's use of its technology. The Washington County Sheriff, for instance, and the City of Orlando have both been running Rekognition-powered systems since 2017, it's said. The NDA was later cited by the county to "justify withholding documents" in response public records requests, the ACLU said.

The debate over the implantation of facial recognition software is happening all over the world. "Imagine if customers couldn't buy a computer because it was possible to use that computer for illegal purposes?" Furthermore, this technology is quite cheap, with estimated costs for the two law enforcement agencies that have deployed it being placed at around a few tens of dollars per month. Its police force has used the technology to identify suspected shoplifters from security footage, according to RouteFifty.

A facial recognition system used by officials in China connects to millions of CCTV cameras and uses artificial intelligence to pick out targets. "Once powerful surveillance systems like these are built and deployed, the harm will be extremely hard to undo".

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