Amazon’s creating a facial recognition system the government can use


Law enforcement will be a "common use case" for the tech.

Privacy is a luxury that seems to be slipping away from our world with every day that passes, and Amazon’s currently working on a system to ensure it disappears ASAP.

According to marketing materials that the ACLU obtained, Amazon’s building a new technology called "Rekognition" that’s designed for facial tracking. Per the ACLU

Powered by artificial intelligence, Rekognition can identify, track, and analyze people in real time and recognize up to 100 people in a single image. It can quickly scan information it collects against databases featuring tens of millions of faces, according to Amazon.

The most common use for Rekognition seems to be targeted at law enforcement. Rekognition will be able to ID "people of interest" and is described by Amazon as a "person tracking" technology. Furthermore, as the ACLU notes —

Amazon not only markets Rekognition as a law enforcement service, it is helping governments deploy it. Amazon lists the city of Orlando, Florida, and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon among its customers.

Of those mentioned above, the Washington County Sherrif Department became a Rekognition customer back in 2017. Since then, the department has created a database of faces using around 300,00 mugshots and even made a mobile app that deputies on the force can use to cross-match people with the information they already have.

As the ACLU continues —

With this technology, police would be able to determine who attends protests. ICE could seek to continuously monitor immigrants as they embark on new lives. Cities might routinely track their own residents, whether they have reason to suspect criminal activity or not. As with other surveillance technologies, these systems are certain to be disproportionately aimed at minority communities.

What are your thoughts on Amazon creating a technology like Rekognition and allowing governments to use it? Is this a good thing that’ll help to keep everyone more secure, or is it a violation of privacy that’ll likely be abused by those that have access to it? Sound off in the comments below.

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May 23, 2018 at 06:55AM