AMAZON IS FACING PRESSURE from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) over plans to sell its facial recognition systems to law enforcement.
A petition explains that "Amazon has entered the surveillance business, and they're selling to the government" and has already garnered 60,000 signatures online with more coming from other civil liberties organisations.
"Amazon's product, Rekognition, has the power to identify people in real time, in photos of large groups of people, and in crowded events and public places," it goes on.
"At a time when we're joining public protests at unprecedented levels, and discriminatory policing continues to terrorize communities of colour, handing this surveillance technology over to the government threatens our civil rights and liberties."
Further to this, ACLU claims it has information from an FOI request that shows that the system is already rolled out in Florida and Oregon with other states showing interest. It suggests that customers are getting a partnership deal with Amazon offering ongoing support to "fully utilise Rekognition's capabilities".
The TL;DR is a plea to Amazon: "You're powering dangerous surveillance that threatens your customers and communities. Stop padding your bottom line by selling out our civil rights."
Previously, ACLU has warned of Amazon's ambitions in AI as another potential disaster for privacy with Amazon Go being cited as the perfect storm of surveillance and artificial intelligence.
The ACLU is clear that it isn't against the technology per se, it is objecting specifically of the mass sale of said technology, specifically to government departments who explicitly use it for what the organisation believes is a breach of human rights, going against what it reminds CEO Jeff Bezos is supposed to be the world's most customer-centric company.
Amazon has, so far, refused to comment on the survey or the wider issue of selling technology to government. µ
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