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Kairos refuses contract to provide Axon with facial recognition system

Kairos refuses contract to provide Axon with facial recognition system

AI and facial recognition company Kairos has declined to provide police body camera maker Axon with its software, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Kairos does not provide its technology to governments or government contractors, the Journal reports. A request to use Kairos’ technology in drones has also been turned down, though it is not clear if that request came from Axon or another company. Axon announced a partnership with drone maker DJI in June to offer aerial video surveillance under the name Axon Air.

As public debate over public applications of facial recognition technology has intensified, Axon has acquired computer vision startups, with the stated purpose of making it easier to process and redact videos to protect the privacy of non-suspects appearing on camera, Gizmodo reports. The company recently formed an AI ethics board, and when it was reported earlier this year to be considering implementing AI capabilities in its products, the company acknowledged the reality of some potential risks identified by privacy groups in response, but compared the technology to other powerful and potentially dangerous law enforcement tools.

Amazon has been facing criticism from privacy groups and shareholders for marketing its Rekognition biometric technology to law enforcement agencies, and Microsoft was drawn into the debate when its Azure Government cloud was revealed to be used by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

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