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The Orlando Police is ditching Amazon’s facial recognition tech because it kept fucking up

Maybe it would work if Amazon learned how to spell ‘Rekognition’ properly.

amazon facial recognition rekognition software
Image: WUNC

The trialing of Amazon’s facial recognition tech, Rekognition, by the Orlando Police Department has ended after 15 months. That’s according to Orlando Weekly, who goes on to cite a lack of resources by the city and multiple technical challenges as the reasons the program ended.

The system was designed to let officers upload a photo of a suspect, then get alerted when the real-time software identified them on the network of cameras. It just didn’t work with the limited test parameters used by the Orlando Police Department.

Amazon’s facial recognition tech dropped by Orlando Police after 15 months of testing

The latest phase of testing was only using 8 cameras, and the city’s infrastructure still couldn’t get a reliable video stream from just one at a time. With those cameras also being too low a resolution for the facial recognition, and too high, only able to get images of the top of people’s heads, one would question the motivation of the police department in running such a half-baked trial.

Even when Amazon offered to install its own cameras free-of-charge, the city still turned them down. Was this trial doomed from the start?

  • The tech is supposed to use facial recognition algorithms to find and track suspects in real-time
  • Technology glitches and a lack of resources were cited as the reasons for ending the trial
  • Orlando is the only city nationwide that was openly testing out the real-time version of Amazon’s tech
  • The trial was protested by the American Civil Liberties Union, who are glad to see the police department decide to not go forward
  • This isn’t the first time the city tried to use facial recognition tech, a similar trial in 2017 was shuttered after a year from a lack of resources

No doubt this will be heralded by privacy advocates as proof that facial recognition tech doesn’t work. The reality is more nuanced than that, with the facial recognition tech being plugged into cameras that just weren’t suitable for the job. Still, chalk one up for the privacy advocates in this instance.

What do you think? Glad to see Orlando doing away with the facial recognition? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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