ACLU pushes Amazon shareholders to vote for facial-recognition ban – CNET

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James Martin/CNET

The American Civil Liberties Union is maintaining its stress towards Amazon’s apply of promoting facial recognition tech to legislation enforcement.

Two days forward of Amazon’s annual shareholder assembly, the civil rights group despatched out a letter imploring the corporate’s shareholders to vote on two shareholder proposals that might curb the usage of the tech firm’s Rekognition software program.

“With out shareholder motion, Amazon might quickly turn into identified extra for its function in facilitating pervasive authorities surveillance than for its shopper retail operations,” the letter said.

The proposals name for the corporate to ban its sale of Rekognition to legislation enforcement and for Amazon to review its use by police.

Amazon’s board beneficial shareholders vote towards each proposals, which makes the passage of both proposal unlikely. CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, a board member, controls about 16% of Amazon’s shares and is not anticipated to vote for these proposals.

The letter, certainly one of a number of the ACLU has organized to name consideration to facial recognition tech, comes as efforts to curb legislation enforcement’s use of facial recognition good points momentum across the nation. San Francisco turned the primary metropolis to bar police from utilizing the expertise final week. Oakland, California, and Somerville, Massachusetts, are each contemplating related bans, and the state legislature in Massachusetts is contemplating a statewide moratorium.

Amazon inserted itself into within the debate in Washington State, the place the state legislature this 12 months thought of a moratorium on police use of facial recognition. Amazon, together with Microsoft, threw its assist behind a competing information privateness measure that did not ban legislation enforcement from utilizing facial recognition. The state Senate handed the much less restrictive invoice in March, and it is presently making its approach by the state Home of Representatives.

The California legislature is contemplating a ban on facial recognition in police physique cameras. The state Meeting handed the invoice in early Could, and it is presently being thought of by the state Senate. Assemblyman Phil Ting, a Democrat from San Francisco, launched the invoice.

Final 12 months, Ting labored on laws to extend the usage of physique cameras. The concept was to extend police accountability and construct belief between legislation enforcement and the communities they serve. Banning surveillance instruments on the physique cameras appeared like the following logical step, he advised CNET in an interview.

“The very last thing we wished to do was erode that belief by putting in facial recognition software program on physique cameras,” Ting stated.


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