Amazon is the average housewife’s best friend, as it offers just about anything from books to sauté pans. These masters of retail sales have recently unveiled Recognition – a revolutionary AI-powered piece of software which they say will help governments and police departments around the world to more effectively combat organized crime.
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have laid their hands on a bunch of documents revealing that Amazon has been working with governments and police departments to build up advanced surveillance systems in a number of counties and states across the USA.
It is not a secret that Recognition has been used by police in Washington County, Oregon to search for suspects for a year and a half now, but the extent to which mass surveillance programs are being developed with Amazon’s help raises concerns as to whether the personal details of their customers are stored safely.
The scope of abilities of the new software includes, but is not limited to, controlling all surveillance cameras already installed in a particular area in such a way so as to give law-enforcers real-time information on the activity of any “person of interest” and show it on screen.
In their letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos ACLU makes it a point that letting police use such advanced surveillance technology casts a serious blow to people’s rights. ACLU’s biggest worry is that the police may be tempted to use Amazon’s powerful surveillance tools to target political groups, opposition leaders or people who are otherwise vulnerable.