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Amazon set for facial recognition revolt

Published: May 22, 2019
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Source: bbc.com

Opposition to Amazon's sale of its facial recognition technology to US police forces is set to come to a head at its annual general meeting on Wednesday.

Shareholders will vote twice on the matter.

First, over whether the company should stop offering its Rekognition system to government agencies.

And second, over whether to commission an independent study into whether the tech threatens people's civil rights.

The votes are non-binding, meaning executives do not have to take specific action whatever the outcome.

Amazon had tried to block the votes but was told by the Securities and Exchange Commission that it did not have the right to do so.

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In a previously undocumented use of facial recognition software, police in Washington state are using Amazon’s ‘Rekognition’ to track down criminals with as little as an artist’s sketch. 

The Washington County Sheriff's Office became the first law enforcement agency in the country known to use Amazon's artificial-intelligence tool Rekognition, transforming this thicket of forests and suburbs into a public testing ground for a new wave of experimental police surveillance techniques.

Stories of resistance against biometric schemes are seldom seen in established media because Big Tech lawyers head off such stories by bullying outlets with legal threats. Monsanto and Big Pharma turned this into an art form.

For those of you that still hold onto to the idea that America will never follow in China's, Big Brother footsteps, I give you this disturbing story. A recent CNet article revealed how the Washington County Sheriff's Office (WCSO) in Oregon uses Amazon's Rekognition software to identify shoplifters.

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