The Undemocratic Spread of Big Brother

By Conor Friedersdorf

Earlier this week, the ACLU led a coalition of two dozen civil-rights organizations in a new protest mounted in defense of an old proposition: that “people should be free to walk down the street without being watched by the government.” Facial-recognition technology threatens that proposition.

Amazon is marketing a facial recognition product to local police agencies. And while it is hardly alone in that, its size, influence, and competence suggest that its product, Rekognition, could proliferate widely. That’s made it the target of protest.

“Today, the ACLU and a coalition of civil rights organizations demanded that Amazon stop allowing governments to use Rekognition,” the ACLU of Northern California explained. “With Rekognition, a government can now build a system to automate the identification and tracking of anyone,” it argued. “If police body cameras, for example, were outfitted with facial recognition, devices intended for officer transparency and accountability would further transform into surveillance machines aimed at the public. With this technology, police would be able to determine who attends protests. ICE could seek to continuously monitor immigrants as they embark on new lives. Cities might routinely track their own residents, whether they have reason to suspect criminal activity or not.”

In its research, the …read more

From:: The Atlantic

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