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ACLU to deliver petition requesting Amazon stop selling surveillance technology to the government


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other advocacy groups are delivering a petition to Amazon's Seattle headquarters today requesting that the company stop selling surveillance technology to the government.

The dispute centers around an Amazon-branded facial recognitions software called Rekognition and the ACLU has already collected nearly 60,000 and has collaborated with organizations like Demand Progress and Fight for the Future to collect 90,000 signatures for a combined total of about 150,000 signatures as of June 19.

The ACLU has warned against Amazon's endeavors into artificial intelligence which is how the advocacy group first learned that the Amazon was soliciting government agencies to see if they wanted to use the technology.

“Amazon's product, Rekognition, has the power to identify people in real time, in photos of large groups of people, and in crowded events and public places,” the petition letter said. “At a time when we're joining public protests at unprecedented levels, and discriminatory policing continues to terrorize communities of color, handing this surveillance technology over to the government threatens our civil rights and liberties."

This isn't the first time the organization has taken a stance against facial recognition technology, in 2013 the ACLU helped draft a document of facial recognition best practices with the government and consistently releases guidance's on surveillance and privacy. 

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