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Amazon faces greater shareholder pressure to limit sale of facial recognition tech to the government

This week could mark a significant setback for Amazon’s facial recognition business if privacy and civil liberties advocates — and some shareholders — get their way.
Months earlier, shareholders tabled a resolution to limit the sale of Amazon’s facial recognition tech giant calls Rekognition to law enforcement and government agencies. It followed accusations of bias and inaccuracies with the technology, which they say can be used to racially discriminate against minorities. Rekognition, which runs image and video analysis of faces, has been sold to two states so far and Amazon has pitched Immigrations & Customs Enforcement. A second resolution will require an independent human and civil rights review of the technology.
Now the ACLU is backing the measures and calling on shareholders to pass the the resolutions.
“Amazon has stayed the course,” said Shankar Narayan, director of the Technology and Liberty Project at the ACLU Washington, in a call Friday. “Amazon has heard repeatedly about the dangers to our democracy and vulnerable communities about this technology but they have refused to acknowledge those dangers let alone address them,” he said.
“Amazon has been so non-responsive to these concerns,” said Narayan, “even Amazon’s own shareholders have been forced to resort to putting these proposals addressing those concerns on the ballot.”
It’s the latest move in a concerted effort by dozens of shareholders and investment firms, tech experts and academics, and privacy and rights groups and organizations who have decried the use of the technology.
Amazon faces greater shareholder pressure to limit sale of facial recognition tech to the government
Critics say Amazon Rekognition has accuracy and bias issues. (Image: TechCrunch)
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