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Commentary: Facial recognition can be positive but companies need to ensure human rights are upheld

Author: Amira Dhalla, Medium, Published on: 3 December 2018

"Amazon's facial recognition technology scares me. You should be scared too."

When used appropriately, the broader society can... benefit from... positive uses of facial recognition... [F]acial recognition can also be harmful as it infringes on individuals’ human rights by gathering and using their data without consent... Government can also use these tools to surveil people... [which] poses a threat to our most vulnerable communities and unjustly targets particular individuals such as people of color... [T]here are currently no rules to govern how this tool is to be used by private or public sectors.

... Amazon has focused on the positive impact of Rekognition but what makes it different from other technology companies is the fact that since the product was conceived, they have been marketing and selling it to law enforcement as a way to track and identify criminal suspects... ACLU formed a coalition of civil rights groups calling on Amazon to stop selling the program to law enforcement... The future of facial recognition can be positive but we need the organizations creating these tools to lead the discussion on how we can create these tools while upholding the rights of all citizens... Amazon has a responsibility to do what it can to ensure that innovative tools are used in ethical ways... We need to pressure Amazon to protect the rights to privacy and freedom of citizens in the United States by suspending the sales of Rekognition to law enforcement and instead starting a dialogue on how we use tools like facial recognition in humane and secure ways.

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Related companies: Apple Facebook Microsoft