Amazon hasn’t precisely stored Rekognition beneath wraps. In late 2016, the software program large talked up its facial detection software program in a relatively benign AWS publish saying that the tech was already being carried out by The Washington County Sheriff’s Workplace in Oregon for suspect identification.
The ACLU of Northern California is shining more light on the tech this week, nevertheless, after saying that it had obtained paperwork shedding extra mild on the service it believes “raises profound civil liberties and civil rights issues.”
The paperwork in query spotlight Washington County’s database of 300,000 mug shot pictures and a cellular app designed particularly for deputies to cross-reference faces. In addition they word that Amazon has solicited the nation to succeed in out to different potential clients for the service, together with an organization that makes physique cameras.
“Folks ought to be free to stroll down the road with out being watched by the federal government,” ACLU legal professional Matt Cagle writes in a publish tied to the information. “By automating mass surveillance, facial recognition programs like Rekognition threaten this freedom, posing a specific risk to communities already unjustly focused within the present political local weather. As soon as highly effective surveillance programs like these are constructed and deployed, the hurt can be extraordinarily tough to undo.”
The Washington Submit reached out to the county’s public info officer, Deputy Jeff Talbot, within the wake of the report. The deputy informed the paper that expertise doesn’t stray too removed from current programs. “Our purpose is to tell the general public in regards to the work we’re doing to unravel crimes,” mentioned Talbot. “It isn’t mass surveillance or untargeted surveillance.”
Amazon equally deflected options that the expertise is inherently intrusive. “As a expertise, Amazon Rekognition has many helpful purposes in the actual world,” the corporate wrote in a press release to TechCrunch. “And, the utility of AI providers like this may solely enhance as extra corporations begin utilizing superior applied sciences like Amazon Rekognition. Our high quality of life can be a lot worse right now if we outlawed new expertise as a result of some individuals might select to abuse the expertise. Think about if clients couldn’t purchase a pc as a result of it was potential to make use of that pc for unlawful functions? Like every of our AWS providers, we require our clients to adjust to the legislation and be accountable when utilizing Amazon Rekognition.”