Amazon places $10M order for thermal cameras with biometric capabilities from Dahua
Dahua has continued to find customers for its biometric facial recognition cameras despite being restricted from U.S. government contracts by inclusion on the U.S. Entity List. Amazon has purchased 1,500 cameras to monitor its workers for fevers from Dahua in a deal worth nearly $10 million, according to Reuters.
One of Reuters sources said that approximately 500 of the systems purchased are for use in the U.S.
The Entity List bars companies from government contracts, and blocks exports to firms, but does not prevent businesses from buying their products. Reuters points out, however, that the Bureau of Industry and Security’s website says the government “considers that transactions of any nature with listed entities carry a ‘red flag’ and recommends that U.S. companies proceed with caution.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that it will not block the use of thermal cameras lacking regulatory approval, in order to mitigate a shortage of the systems. A U.S.-based manufacturer of thermal cameras, FLIR Systems, has a backlog which is weeks long, and is prioritizing orders for hospitals and other critical facilities, according to the report.
Amazon confirmed its deal with Dahua, and noted that the hardware complies with all local, state and federal laws. The temperature checks are intended to protect the health and safety of workers. The company also says it is implementing thermal imagers from other manufacturers. Reuters reports that Infrared Cameras Inc. and FLIR are among those other manufacturers.
Dahua declined to discuss the deal specifically, and the U.S. Department of Commerce, which put out the blacklist, has no comment.
Cameras from Dahua have been used throughout the pandemic in hospitals, airports, government offices, factories, and public transport facilities. IBM has ordered 100 units and Chrysler has purchased 10, a source claims.
The greater impact of the deal may come from a legal provision scheduled to take in August that would bar the federal government from new or renewed contracts with companies using any products or services from banned companies “as a substantial or essential component of any system.”
Amazon Web Services is a top supplier for America’s intelligence community, and has been involved in a dispute over a contract with the Pentagon worth up to $10 billion.
Some workers with the online shopping giant have protested work conditions they consider unsafe, and Reuters reports COVID-19 infections have been reported by workers at dozens of its warehouses.
While the cameras use face detection to perform temperature checks, and are capable of performing biometric identification, Amazon says it does not use the facial recognition feature on any of its thermal cameras, and a spokesperson for the company says they are not connected to the network, eliminating any potential risk to personal information.
A representative of California-based EnterActive Networks told Reuters that many U.S. customers are interested in Dahua cameras, undeterred by its Entity List status.