Amazon Facial Recognition Ban Inked Only 2% Of Shareholder Votes

  • General
  • May 25, 2019
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  • 3 minutes read

Even amid backlash from Amazon employees over the company’s sale of facial recognition technology to law enforcement, a recent proposal to stop the company from selling it to government agencies won just 2.4% of total shareholder votes, with a second proposal calling for a study of the degree to which Amazon’s facial recognition tech has impacted on civil rights and privacy garnering 27.5% support.

The e-commerce giant is at the center of growing debate over facial recognition which critics have warned may lead to false matches and arrests while supporters argue it ensures public safety. Amazon has sold facial recognition tech to law enforcement in Florida and Oregon, amid a recent ban of its use by law enforcement in the city of San Francisco.

Use of Amazon’s facial recognition software comes at cheaper costs to law enforcement agencies, with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon stating it spent about $700 to upload its initial large collection of photos, and spends roughly $7 per month on all its searches. Amazon has upheld its work and said all users most follow the law.

Nevertheless, the company is one among several that sells facial recognition tech. Microsoft, Israel’s AnyVision, Japan’s NEC Corp, and France’s Idemia also do this. Then there is Megvii, a Chinese company selling facial recognition tech to more than 50,000 customers including law enforcement that recently raised $750 million in new funding, ahead of a planned IPO.

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