Civil Rights Organizations vs. Facial Recognition Software

Civil Rights Organizations vs. Facial Recognition Software

How do we know that we are not being watched right this second? Or when we step outside on the street? With many people owning camera smartphones and face recognition apps on some social media, it is very hard to know. And if you remember George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984, you might see some similarities in the way technology is used today.

Amazon, the online company we all love to shop on, is being called out for CEO Jeff Bezos’ decisions in selling its facial recognition technology to the government.

Rekognition, a technology that uses artificial intelligence to identify objects, people, scenes and more from images or videos, is causing controversy of how it should and shouldn’t be used. According to CNN, an Amazon executive revealed that it is commonly used for public safety by letting law enforcement recognize and track suspects or “persons of interest.” The tool can pull out faces from a crowd, identifying up to 100 faces.

Civil rights organizations are not so sure this is always a good thing. They worry the use of Rekognition could infringe on privacy rights and target vulnerable populations such as people of color and immigrants. A letter cosigned by the 41 activist groups also argues that, “People should be free to walk down the street without being watched by the government.”

The ACLU and two dozen civil rights organizations want to stop the sales and restore privacy. Does it bother you that facial recognition software is so readily available on Amazon and law enforcement is stocking up? 57% of people are bothered that Big Brother is always watching, while 43% are okay with it, thinking the good outweighs the bad. Read more on the story on CNN here.


Here’s how people on the Zip app are weighing in on this all over the country!

Does it bother you that facial recognition software is so readily available on Amazon and law enforcement is stocking up? The ACLU and two dozen civil rights orgs. want to stop the sales.

Zip users in 98 cities and 32 states weighed in on this question.

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