Orlando ends pilot of Amazon Rekognition facial recognition software

The city of Orlando and and the Orlando Police Department announced yesterday in a joint statement that the police pilot project of Amazon Rekognition facial recognition software ended last week but held the door open for possible use in the future, Florida Politics reports.

“Staff continues to discuss and evaluate whether to recommend continuation of the pilot at a further date. At this time that process in still ongoing and the contract with Amazon remains expired,” reads the joint statement. “The City of Orlando is always looking for new solutions to further our ability to keep our residents and visitors safe. Partnering with innovative companies to test new technology – while also ensuring we uphold privacy laws and in no way violate the rights of others – is critical to us as we work to further keep our community safe.”

Privacy activists including the American Civil Liberties Union have been asking Amazon to stop marketing its Rekognition technology to police, out of concern for its use with body cameras and cameras monitoring public areas. Criticism of technology companies based on the applications its facial recognition products are being used for is growing.

The Wall Street Journal reported recently that AI and facial recognition Kairos has declined to provide police body camera maker Axon with its software, as the company does not provide its technology to governments or government contractors.

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