Amazon Exec Defends Sale of Facial Recognition to Police in Internal Meeting

“After an ACLU report revealed that Amazon had been selling facial recognition technology to police earlier this year, an assortment of privacy rights activists, shareholders, and even Amazon employees publicly decried the practice and called on the company to stop. “

Amazon Exec Defends Sale of Facial Recognition to Police in Internal MeetingAmazon is showing no sign of backing off from its marketing and sales of facial recognition to law enforcement agencies and other government bodies, suggest comments made during an all-hands internal meeting.

A transcript of the meeting was attained by Buzzfeed, which reports that employees raised concerns about the practices. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos referred one question to Amazon Web Services head Andy Jessy, who acknowledged the controversy around the issue but insisted that the business practices would continue.

“I think we’re going to have people who have opinions that are very wide-ranging, which is great, but we feel really great and really strongly about the value that Amazon Rekognition is providing our customers of all sizes and all types of industries in law enforcement, and out of law enforcement,” he said.

After an ACLU report revealed that Amazon had been selling facial recognition technology to police earlier this year, an assortment of privacy rights activists, shareholders, and even Amazon employees publicly decried the practice and called on the company to stop. But Amazon has defended such practices, commissioning a case study from Marinus Analytics this summer that highlighted the use of its facial recognition in tracking victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

In the recent employee meeting, Jessy brought up some of those same talking points, asserting that “Rekognition is actively been used to help stop human trafficking, to reunite missing kids with parents for educational applications, for security and multi-factor authentication.” Jessy also noted that Amazon can revoke the use of Recognition when its terms of services are violated or when it’s used to violate constitutional rights; and he pointed to “the role and the responsibilities of the government to help specify what the guidelines and regulations should be about technology,” suggesting that the government also bears responsibility in addressing the ethical issues of facial recognition technology.

Source: Buzzfeed News

November 9, 2018 – by Alex Perala