ORLANDO POLICE has confirmed it has ditched its trial of facial recognition software, following multiple setbacks.
Forces in the Florida city had been testing Amazon's Rekognition package, with Phase 2 rolling out to four locations last October. The test phase was completed
According to a report in Orlando Weekly (the premiere news source produced on a weekly basis in the Orlando area), the trial had been criticised for technical glitches, lags and most importantly, an ongoing debate over whether Rekognition actually works.
Civil liberties groups have long expressed concerns over facial recognition - not just Amazon's, with claims that it is inaccurate, and shows unconscious biases against people of colour and women.
Orlando's Chief Administrative Office sent a memo to the City Council announcing that: "At this time, the city was not able to dedicate the resources to the pilot to enable us to make any noticeable progress toward completing the needed configuration and testing,"
There are "no immediate plans regarding future pilots to explore this type of facial recognition technology."
The tech was being used to identify and track suspects in real-time but has proved to be a complete faff, in reality, compounded by a complete lack of regulation on its use in Florida state.
Amazon support staff came out regularly to make changes, but according to one official, at the time the scheme was halted, it was still unable to create a reliable stream, thanks to a lack of bandwidth.
Worse still, the City's legacy CCTV system proved completely incompatible with Rekognition, negating part of its purpose. In addition, the cameras were mounted at a level that meant that often, the only view was the top of subjects' heads and would regularly disconnect for no apparent reason.
It's known if Amazon will do anything to try and recoup its investment, but then, exactly what can it do? Hopefully, it won't involve sharing the data it's collected. μ
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