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Amazon shareholders reject proposal to ban facial recognition despite civil liberty concerns – Source – Yahoo Finance (05/23/2019)

Amazon (AMZN) investors voted on Wednesday to continue selling controversial facial recognition technology to governments enforcement agencies around the world. The vote, which took place Tuesday during Amazon’s annual , comes amid backlash against facial and the potential for it to inappropriately target women . Amazon’s board of directors recommended rejecting the proposed ban of the technology, as well as a secondary measure that calls company to issue a report on the risks of governments using . Amazon currently works with law enforcement agencies in the U.S., American Civil Liberties Union (A.C.L.U.) and M.I.T. Media Lab said the technology is flawed, an accusation Amazon rejects. Technologies like Amazon’s are facing increasing scrutiny from state governments, as well as civil rights groups that fear it will to spy on everyday Americans.

It has become such a hot issue like Microsoft and Google are rejecting requests for to be used by some agencies. The board’s vote Investors opposed to Amazon’s sale of its facial recognition technology, called Amazon , asked shareholders to vote to: “prohibit sales of facial recognition technology to government agencies unless the Board concludes, after an evaluation using independent evidence, that the technology does not cause or contribute to actual or potential violations of civil and human rights.” Shareholders were also seeking to have Amazon commission an of to determine whether it posed a threat , immigrants, or activists; if it would be sold regimes; and what the operational and financial risks issues would cause.

So far, Amazon has piloted its technology with the Orlando Police Department in Florida and the Washington County Sheriff’s Oregon. Both instances were met with resistance from civil , AI specialists, and defense attorneys, who fear it target minorities and lead to false arrests. In July 2018, the A.C.L.U. ran a study that it said matched of 28 members of Congress to mugshots of known criminals. A secondary test performed by the M.I.T. Media Lab in January 2019 by The New York Times found that had a hard female faces and the faces of dark-skinned individuals. Representatives from Amazon, however, pushed back against those claims, saying both the A.C.L.U. and M.I.T. Media Lab studies didn’t use the technology properly. The company also issued a statement on how it uses .

Lawmakers and other tech companies, though, are calling for over the technology. The response to facial recognition Ahead of Amazon’s meeting, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to ban the use of facial recognition technology by groups, while Massachusetts currently has a bill seeking a moratorium on the tech in committee. Microsoft (MSFT) President Brad Smith has said that his company sale of its own facial recognition technology to a out of fear that it would disproportionately impact women . Smith said that the technology had primarily been white males, and, as a result, wouldn’t have been accurate. also denied the sale of its tech to a foreign country. Google (GOOG, GOOGL), meanwhile, has chosen not to sell its all. For more on Yahoo Finance’s and Dan Howley’s coverage of this…

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