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Amazon shares fall as its revealed US law enforcement is facial recognition client

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Amazon shares closed lower in the US Tuesday as the American Civil Liberties Union reveals the tech giant is marketing its powerful facial recognition technology to the US law enforcement. And, Government agencies and a number of local police forces are already using Amazon’s Rekognition tool.

Amazon shares closed 0.26% lower at €1,581.40. The stock is also in the red in after hours activity.

Amazon supports the development of mass market surveillance

The ACLU argues that wider use of Amazon’s smart tech could lead to mass surveillance, which would threaten US citizens’ civil liberties. In a blog post, the group details how records it has seen show Amazon has sold Rekognition to the Washington County sheriff and the city of Orlando.

Washington County has gone on to develop the system and now has a database of at least 300,000 mugshots that can be used with the system.

“It also built a mobile app for its deputies to quickly scan for a match against the county’s database by submitting images obtained from surveillance or other sources,” the ACLU said of Ashington County’s use of the facial recognition system.

Letter to Bezos

Following this news, the ACLU has teamed up with around 40 other groups and written a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, requesting they stop selling the facial recognition tech to the US government and law enforcement.

“We write today to express our profound concerns about your company’s facial recognition system, Rekognition,” the letter reads.

“We demand that Amazon stop powering a government surveillance infrastructure that poses a grave threat to customers and communities across the country. Amazon should not be in the business of providing surveillance systems like Rekognition to the government.” It adds.

The letter ends with: “Amazon Rekognition is primed for abuse in the hands of governments. This product poses a grave threat to communities, including people of color and immigrants, and to the trust and respect Amazon has worked to build. Amazon must act swiftly to stand up for civil rights and civil liberties, including those of its own customers, and take Rekognition off the table for governments.”

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