TIRED OF FLOGGING everything, Amazon has decided to sell facial recognition software to US police, indicating the online giant is in the surveillance tech market.
A freedom of information request submitted by the American Civil Liberties Union revealed that Amazon had been contacting US states and advertising "Amazon Rekognition", which uses deep learning algorithms to power a facial recognition system that reacts to both photo and video data.
Amazon is offering free support, troubleshooting, and other services to help government law enforcement get cracking with facing recognition tech, reported Beeping Computer.
Of course, such surveillance raised concerns over citizens' right to privacy and how it could lead to a lot of secret surveillance to be carried out.
"People should be free to walk down the street without being watched by the government. Facial recognition in American communities threatens this freedom. In over-policed communities of colour, it could effectively eliminate it," the American Civil Liberties Union wrote in an open letter to Amazon chief exec Jeff Bezos.
"The federal government could use this facial recognition technology to continuously track immigrants as they embark on new lives. Local police could use it to identify political protesters captured by officer body cameras. With Rekognition, Amazon delivers these dangerous surveillance powers directly to the government.
The letter notes that rather than try and restrict government use of Rekognition, Amazon is helping governments deploy it....funny that; it's almost like Amazon is a big business out to make money....
But the American Civil Liberties Union reckons Rekogition is "primed" for abuse by governments, despite Amazon presenting older versions of the tech as a means to aid in the search for missing people.
As such, the Union wants Amazon to put Rekognition out of the reach of governments, which we reckon is wishful thinking.
"This product poses a grave threat to communities, including people of colour and immigrants, and to the trust and respect Amazon has worked to build. 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," the Union said.
Given government snooping is en vogue at the moment, we don't expect Amazon will yank Rekognition from US law enforcement any time soon. µ
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