Amazon is selling its face-recognition tech to police departments

Amazon is selling its face-recognition tech to police departments

Amazon is selling its face-recognition tech to police departments

"Like any of our AWS services, we require our customers to comply with the law and be responsible when using Amazon Rekognition".

The documents show that at least some public employees raised concerns about the technology.

An Amazon Web Services spokeswoman said Rekognition isn't used for active surveillance, like Raju Das, the facial recognition software's director, said at the AWS Summit in Seoul.

"We demand that Amazon stop powering a government surveillance infrastructure that poses a grave threat to customers and communities across the country", the groups wrote in the letter.

Local police and the federal government have a history of surveilling social movements ― most notably COINTELPRO, a civil rights era ploy on the part of the FBI to stifle progressive organizations and black social movements.

Amazon's Rekognition technology provides accurate facial analysis and facial recognition. During the royal wedding this past weekend, clients used Rekognition to identify wedding attendees, she said.

Amazon similarly deflected suggestions that the technology is inherently intrusive.

Civil-rights groups are crying foul while citing concerns about the potential misuse of such a tool, which can be utilized on a police officer's body camera.

The program can also be used to identify celebrities and to analyze emotions from facial expressions for retail stores. "Once powerful surveillance systems like these are built and deployed, the harm will be extremely hard to undo", writes the ACLU. "Amazon must 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".

'Police use of face recognition to continuously identify anyone on the street - without individualized suspicion - could chill our basic freedoms of expression and association, particularly when face recognition is used at political protests, ' the report said. It can identify up to 100 people in a crowd, the documents said.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office in OR has used it to quickly compare unidentified suspects in surveillance images to a database of more than 300,000 booking photos from the county jail - a common use of such technology around the country - while the Orlando Police Department in Florida is testing whether it can be used to single out persons-of-interest in public spaces and alert officers to their presence.

The city is stressing that, right now, it is only using "facial imagining for a handful of Orlando police officers who volunteered and agreed to participate in the test pilot".

Rekognition's commercial customers include the image-sharing network Pinterest and the directory website Spokeo.

Because the software measures what is a biometric measurement - of someone's face - it is much more invasive than simply taking photos or videos of those gathered and comparing them to other photos later. "Our goal is to inform the public about the work we're doing to solve crimes", said Talbot. "It is not mass surveillance or untargeted surveillance".

Pak'nSave supermarkets in Kaitaia, Porirua, Upper Hutt and on West Auckland's Lincoln Rd told the Herald they do not use facial recognition technology.

Were Amazon to stop marketing its tech to government officials and offering assistance to sweeten the deal, it seems doubtful that desire to try the tech would wane.

The city says the cameras Amazon has access to are "extremely restricted and limited to only eight city-owned cameras". The information it collects can then be scanned against databases featuring tens of millions of people, the ACLU said.

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