Science and Tech


Orlando Ends Facial Recognition Program With Amazon ... For Now

The city of Orlando is done testing Amazon's facial recognition technology for now after civil rights groups flagged potential privacy violations.
Posted at 3:21 PM, Jun 26, 2018

A facial recognition pilot program between the city of Orlando and Amazon has ended amid civil rights groups' privacy concerns about the technology.

The Orlando Police Department had been testing Amazon's Rekognition service as a public safety tool and reportedly decided not to continue after the partnership period ended.

Amazon's technology uses facial analysis to detect and analyze people, objects and other content. It's being used initially by various entities, including the Washington County Sheriff's Department in Oregon. 

Last month, dozens of civil rights organizations wrote to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, claiming Rekognition could violate privacy rights. A letter sent to Orlando city leaders on Monday by the Florida ACLU echoed that sentiment, citing concerns that the product would track people "without their knowledge or consent."

In a statement provided to media outlets, the city and Orlando Police Department said testing new technology while upholding privacy laws "is critical to us as we work further to keep our community safe."

So far, Amazon hasn't publicly commented.