Orlando Police Drops Amazon’s Facial Recognition Tech over Glitches

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, seen in a 2018 photo, decided to fight back following what he said was an extortion attempt by the National Enquirer, a supermarket tabloid controlled by a friend of President Donald Trump

The Orlando Police Department ended a pilot test of Amazon’s Rekognition facial scanning tech this week after failing to properly utilize the software due to multiple glitches and a lack of resources.

Business Insider reports that after 15 months, a pilot test aiming to bring Amazon’s facial recognition system called Rekognition to the Orlando Police Department has ended. City police reportedly ended the test after multiple technical issues resulting in the technology failing to work correctly and a lack of resources on the police department’s part.

The software was designed to utilize facial recognition algorithms to search for and track suspects in real-time. Amazon has previously claimed that the software was used to identify and rescue victims of human trafficking. Orlando police were meant to utilize the system by uploading photos of suspects to it, Rekognition would then search CCTV cameras for the suspect’s face.

But, many of the surveillance cameras around Orlando were not compatible with the Rekognition software, Amazon offered to supply cameras for the system but the city declined.

“The city was not able to dedicate the resources to the pilot to enable us to make any noticeable progress toward completing the needed configuration and testing,” Orlando’s chief administrative office wrote in a memo to City Council. The council said that the city has “no immediate plans regarding future pilots to explore this type of facial recognition technology.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) welcomed the announcement of the end of the project telling the Verge: “Congratulations to the Orlando Police Department for finally figuring out what we long warned — Amazon’s surveillance technology doesn’t work and is a threat to our privacy and civil liberties.” The ACLU found in a study conducted last July that Amazon’s facial recognition software incorrectly identified 28 members of Congress with images of people who had been arrested.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com


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