Amazon Is Selling Facial-Recognition Tech to Law Enforcement

Amazon has been selling a facial-recognition software called “Rekognition,” which has the ability to conduct “person tracking” in crowded areas and find people “of interest” in real time, according to files obtained by the ACLU. The documents indicate that the Washington County Sheriff in Oregon and City of Orlando purchased the system, which can identify more than 100 people in a single image, in 2017. Amazon has since been providing troubleshooting advice, best practices, and expertise in what the Orlando police chief called a “first-of-its-kind public-private partnership.” The increasingly sophisticated surveillance technology that law enforcement now has at their disposal is raising concerns with the ACLU for potential civil-liberties violations. “With Rekognition, a government can now build a system to automate the identification and tracking of anyone,” the ACLU wrote. “If police body cameras, for example, were outfitted with facial recognition, devices intended for officer transparency and accountability would further transform into surveillance machines aimed at the public.”