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Amazon imposes more transparency on the use of its cameras on the police

The Amazon logo.
The Amazon logo. - Michel Spingler / AP / SIPA

PERSONAL DATA When the authorities want access to this or other unpublished information, they will now have to file a request that will be “visible” on the Neighbors feed.

The Police and authorities who want access directly to information collected by individuals via cameras and buzzers connected to Amazon will now make public requests, said Thursday the technology giant. The group markets under the Ring brand a whole range of products ranging from doorbells with integrated camera to alarms for doors and windows. These allow you to remotely control what happens in front of your home or in the event of an intrusion.

Their users can, if they wish, post videos and photos of activities that they see fit to report to their neighbors, such as the theft of a package left on their porch, on a dedicated platform called Neighbors. This app can be downloaded by anyone, including the police.

A “visible” request

When authorities want access to this or other unpublished information, they will now have to file a request that will be “visible” on the Neighbors feed and “recorded on the profile of the authority in question,” Ring said in a statement. We believe transparency and accountability are essential to building better, more secure communities. We’ve spent the last year working with independent experts to find ways to educate customers on how security agencies are using the app. “

Amazon is in the crosshairs of many elected officials and associations with regard to its impact on the environment, the working conditions of its employees and suspicions of anti-competitive practices, but also the use of its technologies by the police. . NGOs and politicians have been asking the Seattle group for years not to collaborate with the American police, for fear that its connected cameras or its Rekognition facial recognition software will reinforce discrimination against minorities.

Microsoft, IBM et Google

In June 2020, Amazon announced a one-year moratorium on the use of this program by police, amid protests against police violence and racism in the United States. Last month, the company renewed the ban “until further notice.” Microsoft, IBM, and Google made similar decisions last year.

But a coalition of NGOs is calling on Amazon to stop selling Rekognition altogether. “Facial recognition technologies are far too dangerous to be installed according to the whims of firms like Amazon,” said Evan Greer of the Fight for the Future group, which is part of this coalition.

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Written by Saif Ali Tai

Saif Ali Tai. What's up, I'm Saif Ali Tai. I'm a software engineer living in India. . I am a fan of technology, entrepreneurship, and programming.

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