AMAZON HAS BECOME the latest company to be linked to the controversial methods used by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) department to control the flow of migrants and smuggled goods in the US.
Bigwigs from the retail giant met with ICE over the summer to pitch its facial recognition technology as a tool to better identify people trying (and indeed repeatedly trying) to get past the hypothetical border wall.
The facial recognition feature which forms part of Amazon's Cloud Services has been on the receiving end of some sharp barbs from those questioning its validity, coupled with Amazon's refusal to submit it to the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Facial Recognition Vendor Test to establish if it's fair, accurate, and not likely to act like a 74-year-old UKIP voting uncle.
The pitch was more aimed at recognising repeat visitors to the US whose payloads could attract suspicion but it is thought that it is already being used by several law enforcement agencies for a wider scope. Equally, if ICE were to buy in the technology for smuggling, once they have it, there's nothing to stop them using it for immigrant and refugee spotting and that's not cool.
"If they have this technology, I can see it being used in any way they think will help them increase the numbers of detentions, apprehensions, and removals," said Alonzo Peña, ex of ICE, in a statement to the The Daily Beast.
The Rekognition technology was pitched in June, along with demonstrations of the possibilities of using other machine learning and big data options, but it's not thought that any deal was made.
Although the Met Police is not using Amazon technology, its own experiments in facial recognition have proved that, with an almost complete failure rate, this is the sort of tech that is far too young to be relied upon in decisions that could affect the course of peoples' lives.
Amazon employees have expressed their concerns about Rekognition's very existence, with one ‘whistleblower' calling it "flawed technology". μ
Oh and it'll also help give aural pleasure
But it might still not be enough to make virtual reality super appealing
And a ridiculous competition
Now you can talk to your silly-looking earbuds too