Amazon has faced repeated calls to stop selling its facial recognition technology to law enforcement agencies, but according to Judge Andrew Napolitano, civil rights groups should take up their complaints with the government -- not the e-commerce behemoth.
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“This is not Amazon’s fault, and it’s not the technology’s fault,” he told FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo during an interview on Wednesday. “It’s the government’s fault for permitting this to happen.”
More than two dozen civil rights organizations called on CEO Jeff Bezos to stop supplying the government and law enforcement with his company’s facial recognition software, Rekognition, according to a letter made public by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The technology can identify people in real time by instantaneously searching databases that contain tens of millions of faces. According to Amazon, Rekognition can be used to identify “all faces in a group photos, crowded events, and public places such as airports.”
Civil rights groups warned the technology could pose a threat by infringing on individuals’ privacy rights and said it was “primed for abuse in the hands of governments.”
Napolitano, who said he tends to fall on the civil liberties side of the debate, called for increased transparency and a public debate to determine how the technology should be used.
“There’s no legislation that authorizes this,” he said. “This is done surreptitiously. There should be transparency and the people's representatives should vote. Do you want to live in a society where you are watched 24/7 because you think it will keep you safer?”