Amazon Is Testing Its Facial Recognition Technology Publicly in Orlando

  • Amazon is conducting tests for its new facial recognition technology in Orlando.
  • Officers from the Orlando Police who volunteered for the test are recorded while other people’s data is not stored on Amazon’s servers.
  • The test has raised concerns over the technology with many claiming the police could misuse Amazon’s technology for themselves.

The Orlando police are helping Amazon test its new facial recognition technology. Amazon’s ‘Rekognition’ project has already faced enough controversy, and it seems like people are not too happy about the Orlando cops allowing granting access to their IRIS cameras spread across the city. The police department clarified that the Amazon software captures only facial data of cops who are part of the testing program voluntarily.

When the ACLU discovered the IRIS cameras all over Orlando were being used to record data for the e-commerce giant, it led to a backlash from citizens who are rightfully concerned about their privacy. The Orlando police chief held a news conference informing that Amazon is making use of the police department’s cameras to test out their technology. The chief admitted that the police department has an understanding with the e-commerce giant and the cops might use the technology to track persons of interest once the software is out of its development stage.

Rekognition
Image Courtesy of Info Q

The Orlando police department intends to use the software to protect innocent people and not simply breach anyone’s privacy. Facial recognition can help catch murder suspects and stalkers according to the OPD, and the police have confirmed that they will never use the software to track down innocent people for any reason.

Police chief John Mina also added that the cops test new equipment quite frequently. He clarified that even though they are testing the new technology, they may not go ahead with using it beyond the testing stage.

After the conference, staff from Orlando Sentinel pointed out that the chief was unaware that Amazon was also using three IRIS scanners in the downtown area which are used to track criminals which added to the controversy. The police chief confirmed later that all camera locations would be made public soon.

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