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Amazon to continue selling facial recognition technology to law enforcement

“We are unwaveringly in support of our law enforcement, defense and intelligence community.”

Amazon will not make any changes to the way it markets and provides facial recognition and other technologies to U.S. government and law enforcement customers, according to Vice President of Worldwide Public Sector for Amazon Web Services Teresa Carlson, FedScoop reports.

The company has faced backlash from shareholders and employees who are concerned that providing Rekognition to U.S. police could be used unfairly and disproportionately target minorities and civil society groups.

Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, Carlson said: “We are unwaveringly in support of our law enforcement, defense and intelligence community.”

She was asked if AWS has added any limitations to its dealings with governments, Carlson denied that it has. She also said that “ethical use rights” clauses in the agreements give the company the right to withdraw services from customers that break the law or otherwise violate ethical standards. It is important for the government to have the tools to defend against bad actors, however, she told the audience, and also noted the technology’s use by a non-profit group called Thorn to remove children from sexual exploitation.

“We provide them the tools, we don’t provide the solution application that they build,” she said. “And we often don’t know everything they’re actually utilizing the tool for. But they need to have the most innovative and cutting-edge tools they can.”

Orlando police signed up for the next phase in a test of Rekognition for public security earlier this month, after the first phase expired in June.

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