Civil Liberties Groups Slam Amazon for Facial Recognition Technology

May 30, 2018 Last Updated: May 30, 2018

Facial recognition technology has become increasingly popular with tech giants such as Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon.
Recognition, Amazon’s facial recognition technology, can identify people from images or videos using artificial intelligence. It is capable of identifying people of interest in a crowd from a database in a matter of seconds.
Amazon is marketing their technology to local law enforcement as a way to catch criminals more easily.
However, U.S. civil liberty groups are demanding that Amazon stop offering law enforcement and government its facial recognition technology in apprehension of privacy infringements.
In a letter sent to Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, from over 40 civil liberty groups, it states: “People should be free to walk down the streets without being watched by the government. Facial recognition in American communities threatens this freedom. In overpopulated communities of color, it could effectively eliminate it.”
In defense, Amazon Spokeswoman Nina Lindsey says, “Amazon requires that customers comply with the law and be responsible when they use [Amazon Web Services].” … When we find that AWS services are being abused by a customer, we suspend that customer’s right to use our services.”
Since Amazon is marketing Rekognition to law enforcement at the local level, it would be up to the cities and states to set regulations on using the technology. Few laws currently exist as lawmakers have yet to keep up with the pace of technological advances such as facial recognition.