Amazon tried to sell its controversial facial recognition system to the US government as a way of catching illegal immigrants
- Amazon tried selling its Rekognition face-scanning technology to ICE officials
- The AI-powered facial recognition software has been a controversial topic
- Released emails have revealed the intentions of Amazon to sell the software
- ICE and government agencies would have been able to use the tech to identify illegal immigrants unlawfully in the US
Amazon tried to sell its AI-powered facial recognition technology to the government to help catch illegal immigrants.
It pitched its product to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials this summer, according to recently released emails.
The emails were first reported by The Daily Beast as part of a Freedom of Information Act request by the advocacy group Project on Government Oversight.
Emails revealed the intention of Amazon to use its controversial Rekognition face-scanning technology to help with the country’s security.
The facial recognition technology has been attracting scrutiny since it was revealed that Amazon had been selling it to several police departments around the US.
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Jeff Bezos’ (pictured) firm was trying to sell its controversial Rekognition face-scanning technology to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials
An Amazon Web Services employee writes in one of the emails: ‘We are ready and willing to support the vital (Homeland Security Investigations) mission.’
This branch of the company develops and sells cloud computing.
In a statement sent to The Washington Post, the official said: ”We participated with a number of other technology companies in technology ‘boot camps’ sponsored by McKinsey Company, where a number of technologies were discussed, including Rekognition.’
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Amazon also revealed it ‘followed up with customers who were interested in learning more about how to use our services (Immigration and Customs Enforcement was one of those organisations where there was follow-up discussion).’
This is the latest in a string of issues that has pestered Amazon and other big tech firms.
Last week it was revealed that more than 450 Amazon employees urged CEO Jeff Bezos to quit selling the tech giant’s controversial facial recognition technology to cops.
That’s according to a new account, written by an anonymous Amazon employee, who joined other staffers in delivering a letter to Bezos laying out their demands.
At the Wired25 summit Bezos, the world’s richest man, defended his firm’s involvement in government contracts.
He said that ‘we are in big trouble’ if tech companies turn their back on the Pentagon.
Bezos also added: ‘This is a great country, and it does need to be defended.’
Amazon tried to sell its AI-powered facial recognition technology to the government to help catch illegal immigrants. The facial recognition technology has been attracting scrutiny since it was revealed that Amazon had been selling it to police departments around the US
HOW DOES FACIAL RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY WORK?
Facial recognition software works by matching real time images to a previous photograph of a person.
Each face has approximately 80 unique nodal points across the eyes, nose, cheeky and mouth which distinguish one person from another.
A digital video camera measures the distance between various points on the human face, such as the width of the nose, depth of the eye sockets, distance between the eyes and shape of the jawline.
A smart surveillance system (pictured) that can scan 2 billion faces within seconds has been revealed in China. The system connects to millions of CCTV cameras and uses artificial intelligence to pick out targets
This produces a unique numerical code that can then be linked with a matching code gleaned from a previous photograph.
A facial recognition system used by officials in China connects to millions of CCTV cameras and uses artificial intelligence to pick out targets.
Experts believe that facial recognition technology will soon overtake fingerprint technology as the most effective way to identify people.
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