Amazon draws fire for selling face recognition to law enforcement

Amazon’s facial recognition technology, Rekognition, is raising concern among privacy advocates. The American Civil Liberties Union and other civil rights groups have issued a letter calling out the potential for abuse of the system among law enforcement, and asking Amazon to stop selling it to government agencies. Additionally, the letter highlights a lack of oversight of how technology like this is being used.

Rekognition is image recognition technology capable of discerning everything from inanimate objects to faces that Amazon launched in November of 2016. Amazon’s marketing materials boast that its technology can recognize faces in real-time and includes a feature called Person Tracking, which can monitor a single person across camera shots; the Amazon software was used last weekend by Sky News to identify guests at the royal wedding. But along with its cloud storage services, Amazon also markets and sells Rekognition to law enforcement agencies like Florida’s Orlando Police Department and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon.
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