Documents obtained by the American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) has discovered that Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) is selling a facial recognition software called Rekognition to police and it's being used by the authority in Orlando, Florida and Oregon Washington County.
According to a report by The Washington Post, The Washington County Sheriff pays from $6 to $12 per month for the technology, as it allows the department to scan mugshot photos and use it against real-time footage.
In a conference introducing the technology, hosted by the software’s director Ranju Das at the AWS Summit, Rekognition is capable of person tracking and facial recognition in a crowd up to 100 people and it detects a person based off a database of tens of millions of people. What's more concerning is the Orlando project which can use this application through the network of cameras throughout the city.
The software was introduced back in November 2016 as part of the Amazon Web Services cloud, with clients in Pinterest, C-SPAN, and Motorola Solutions. It was used more recently to identify guests at the Royal Wedding on Saturday.
The ACLU has called upon a coalition with other groups to stop Amazon from providing facial recognition services to the government agencies. In an open letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, they concluded with concerns for the service stating, "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."