Amazon shareholders demand company stop selling facial recognition technology to governments

The Independent - Tech

A group of Amazon shareholders is asking CEO Jeff Bezos to stop selling and marketing facial recognition technology to governments after civil liberties groups warned of the potential for abuse. Earlier this year, a group of advocacy organisations led by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) published a report detailing how Amazon was marketing its Rekognition tool to American law enforcement agencies. In addition to touting the technology as helping to find suspects, Amazon has said it could be used to preemptively identify "persons of interest" and prevent crimes. A letter signed by 19 shareholders - and provided to The Independent by the ACLU - urges Mr Bezos to halt the tool's expansion until those concerns can be addressed. Amazon supplier investigated over'mistreatment' of workers in China How Alexa recorded a family's conversation then sent it to someone Amazon told to stop selling facial recognition tools to police Amazon supplier investigated over'mistreatment' of workers in China How Alexa recorded a family's conversation then sent it to someone Furnishing police and sheriff's departments with the tool would bolster "government surveillance infrastructure technology" and could drive down Amazon's value, the letter warned. It also echoed concerns about the potential for misuse. "While Rekognition may be intended to enhance some law enforcement activities, we are deeply concerned it may ultimately violate civil and human rights", the letter said.

The new geopolitics of artificial intelligence


The multilateral system urgently needs to help build a new social contract to ensure that technological innovation, in particular artificial intelligence (AI), is deployed safely and aligned with the ethical needs of a globalizing world. Swarms of bots, Facebook dark posts and fake news websites have claimed online territory, with significant repercussions globally. Just consider a few recent events: in the 2016 US presidential elections, Russia empowered one candidate over another through a massive campaign that included paid ads, fake social media accounts and polarizing content. In China, tech giants Alibaba and Tencent have deployed millions of cameras equipped with facial recognition to commodify continuous streams of intimate data about citizens. In Myanmar, a UN report confirmed that Facebook posts have fuelled virulent hate speech directed at Rohingya Muslims.

'I was shocked it was so easy': meet the professor who says facial recognition can tell if you're gay

The Guardian

Vladimir Putin was not in attendance, but his loyal lieutenants were. On 14 July last year, the Russian prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, and several members of his cabinet convened in an office building on the outskirts of Moscow. On to the stage stepped a boyish-looking psychologist, Michal Kosinski, who had been flown from the city centre by helicopter to share his research. "There was Lavrov, in the first row," he recalls several months later, referring to Russia's foreign minister. "You know, a guy who starts wars and takes over countries." Kosinski, a 36-year-old assistant professor of organisational behaviour at Stanford University, was flattered that the Russian cabinet would gather to listen to him talk. "Those guys strike me as one of the most competent and well-informed groups," he tells me. Kosinski's "stuff" includes groundbreaking research into technology, mass persuasion and artificial intelligence (AI) – research that inspired the creation of the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica. Five years ago, while a graduate student at Cambridge University, he showed how even benign activity on Facebook could reveal personality traits – a discovery that was later exploited by the data-analytics firm that helped put Donald Trump in the White House.

New facial recognition technology caught 'imposter' using someone else's passport, US officials say

The Independent - Tech

A new facial recognition technology caught a man trying to enter the US using a passport belonging to someone else, US officials say. Officials with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Office of Field Operations (OFO) intercepted a 26-year-old man, the agencies referred to as an "imposter", who reportedly attempted to use a French passport belonging to someone else, at Washington's Dulles International Airport.

Dubai CCTV cameras to use AI, face recognition


Dubai: Thousands of CCTV cameras of various Dubai government agencies will now provide live feed to a central command centre, officials said. Under a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) network, security cameras across will relay live images of security breaches live to the central command centre, Dubai Police said. The cameras will monitor criminal behaviour in three sectors -- tourism, traffic and bricks and mortar facilities. The network, said the police, is being phased in via different stages to meet the Dubai 2021 Vision requirements of a smart city. Announcing the programme, Major-General Khalil Ebrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant Commander-in-Chief for Criminal Investigation Affairs, said the new project called'Oyoon' (eyes) will tackle crimes in the city and help reduce traffic accident deaths and congestion.