Amazon met with ICE officials over facial-recognition system that could identify immigrants

Washington Post - Technology News

Amazon.com pitched its facial-recognition system in the summer to Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials as a way for the agency to target or identify immigrants, a move that could shove the tech giant further into a growing debate over the industry's work with the government. The June meeting in Silicon Valley was revealed in emails as part of a Freedom of Information Act request by the advocacy group Project on Government Oversight; the emails were published first in the Daily Beast. They show that officials from ICE and Amazon Web Services talked about implementing the company's Rekognition face-scanning platform to assist with homeland security investigations. An Amazon Web Services official who specializes in federal sales contracts, and whose name was redacted in the emails, wrote that the conversation involved "predictive analytics" and "Rekognition Video tagging/analysis" that could possibly allow ICE to identify people's faces from afar -- a type of technology immigration officials have voiced interest in for its potential enforcement use on the southern border. "We are ready and willing to support the vital (Homeland Security Investigations) mission," the Amazon official wrote.


Amazon votes to keep selling its facial recognition software despite privacy concerns

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Amazon will continue to sell its controversial facial recognition software to law enforcement and other entities after its shareholders shot down a proposal to reel the technology in. The vote effectively kills two initiatives brought before Amazon's board. One proposal would have required board approval to sell the software to governments, with approval only being given if the client meets certain standards of civil liberties. Another proposal called for a study on the technology's implications on rights and privacy. The exact breakdown of the vote is unclear and according to an Amazon representative it will only be made available via SEC filings later this week.


Microsoft urges government to take lead in managing facial recognition technology

The Japan Times

SEATTLE – Microsoft, which has come under fire for a U.S. government contract that was said to involve facial recognition software, said it will more carefully consider contracts in this area and urged lawmakers to regulate the use of such artificial intelligence to prevent abuse. The company, one of the key makers of software capable of recognizing individual faces, said it will take steps to make those systems less prone to bias, develop new public principles to govern the technology and move more deliberately to sell its software and expertise in the area. While Microsoft noted that the tech industry bears responsibility for its products, the company argued that government action is also needed. "The only effective way to manage the use of technology by a government is for the government proactively to manage this use itself," Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said Friday in a blog post. "And if there are concerns about how a technology will be deployed more broadly across society, the only way to regulate this broad use is for the government to do so.


The Next Frontier of Police Surveillance Is Drones

Slate

Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society. A company that makes stun guns and body cameras is teaming up with a company that makes drones to sell drones to police departments, and that might not even be the most worrisome part. The line of drones from Axon and DJI is called the Axon Air, and the devices will be linked to Axon's cloud-based database for law enforcement, Evidence.com, And it could open a vast new frontier for police surveillance. By working with a company that is already familiar with contracting with police departments, the Chinese-owned DJI--the world's biggest consumer drone manufacturer--could widen up a new, growing customer base: cops.


Microsoft Calls for AI Face Recognition Software Regulation

#artificialintelligence

Microsoft Corp., which has come under fire for a U.S. government contract that was said to involve facial recognition software, said it will more carefully consider contracts in this area and urged lawmakers to regulate the use of such artificial intelligence to prevent abuse. The company, one of the key makers of software capable of recognizing individual faces, said it will take steps to make those systems less prone to bias; develop new public principles to govern the technology; and will move more deliberately to sell its software and expertise in the area. While Microsoft noted that the tech industry bears responsibility for its products, the company argued that government action is also needed. "The only effective way to manage the use of technology by a government is for the government proactively to manage this use itself," Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith said Friday in a blog post. "And if there are concerns about how a technology will be deployed more broadly across society, the only way to regulate this broad use is for the government to do so.