Reports indicate that Amazon is secretly selling facial recognition tools to the police investigation agencies in both Oregon and Orlando states in the US. The documents collected from the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California (ACLU) reveals that the company is preparing to rollout the advanced technology in the next few weeks, a move that has stirred a major concern among the civil rights groups.
The company designed an innovative product known as Rekognition to be used by police and other government agencies to recognize the faces of the targeted groups. According to ACLU, Amazon will offer the customized technological tool and consulting services to the law enforcement agencies.
A team of civil rights groups are against the move and have submitted a letter to Amazon to drop the deal since it can lead to extended surveillance of susceptible and innocent communities in the country.
New Technology Tool Already In Use
According to ACLU, the new technology is secretly being used by police forces in Oregon and Orlando under nondisclosure contracts to prevent the public from uncovering the treaty. The tool is capable of giving a very powerful real-time facial recognition system that can be connected to the police body surveillance cameras and other municipal inspection systems.
It’s estimated that Amazon receives between $6 and $12 per month to access the tool. Recently, dozens of employees from Google resigned after it was reported that the company is collaborating with Pentagon to utilize the artificial intelligence to aid the government agencies to access the location of persons and drone footage.
Hundred Google workers and other concerned tech firms have remained firm about the matter and are demanding the company to resolve the problem.
Amazon Defends Its Technology
According to Nina Lindsey, Spokeswoman for Amazon, the firm requires its customers to comply with the law by being accountable especially when using Amazon Web Services (AWS). Lindsey highlighted various benefits of using rekognition technology which include, finding lost or abducted persons, locating where a person is exactly located and more.
However, ACLU claims that the technology deprive people their rights and freedom particularly for communities such as immigrants, who are unjustly targeted by the government in the current political rift in the US.
Other companies that use Amazon’s Rekognition tool include Pinterest and C-SPAN for item recognition and analytics. The ACLU have called for support from other concerned groups to stop the malice and urge Amazon to cease from the supporting the government surveillance business.