Amazon Working With Police To Test ‘Rekognition’ Facial ID Software - FbiCables Network | The News that Shapes World Opinion

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Amazon Working With Police To Test ‘Rekognition’ Facial ID Software

Amazon’s facial recognition technology could soon be used to help law enforcement catch dangerous criminals.
Retail giant Amazon is partnering with law enforcement agencies throughout the United States as part of testing for their latest facial recognition service.
Documents released Tuesday reveal the company’s cloud-based program identifies individuals in real-time against a database holding millions of faces.
The service is currently being tested by the Orlando Police Department in Florida and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon, who bought the program for a low fee.
FILE – In this March 12, 2015, file photo, Seattle police officer Debra Pelich, right, wears a video camera on her eyeglasses as she talks with Alex Legesse before a small community gathering in Seattle. While the Seattle Police Department bars officers from using real-time facial recognition in body camera video, privacy activists are concerned that a proliferation of the technology could turn the cameras into tools of mass surveillance. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
At the Amazon web service summit last month the software’s general manager described how the technology is helping law enforcement identify and rescue victims of sex trafficking.
Recognition was even used last weekend by the British broadcast network Sky News and the New York Times to identify attendees of the royal wedding.
Opponents of the technology penned a letter to Amazon this week, where they asked the company to stop selling the service to government agencies over concerns of abuses against minority groups.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed the Freedom of Information Act, resulting in the release of the documents this week.
Along with about two dozen other groups, the ACLU says they’re concerned over the influence this type of software could have on anyone deemed suspicious by police without cause.
“We’re talking about a new technology that supercharges surveillance,” explained ACLU attorney Matt Cagle. “So, we find it really difficult to overstate Amazon’s ability to influence whether facial recognition because widespread in the united states or not.”
Orlando’s Police Department said the facial recognition software’s use is limited to eight camera’s within the city, and is under extremely restricted access.
The technology is able to recognize up to a hundred individuals in a single photo, and will be used to track what officers call “persons of interest” to combat terror and crime-related incidents.
Participating agencies say they are continuing to use the program in accordance with existing law and will address issues as they arise.

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