Nov 9, 2018

Amazon executives defend law enforcement's use of "Rekognition" tech

Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

Amazon employees left an all-staff meeting on Thursday disappointed with the response they got from executives on questions regarding the company's controversial facial recognition technology, BuzzFeed reports.

The details: Amazon Rekognition is being pushed out to law enforcement around the country, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which has resulted in backlash from employees and civil rights groups. But Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon Web Services, which oversees Rekognition, told staff that while he recognizes people will have "opinions that are very wide-ranging ... we feel really great and really strongly about the value that Amazon Rekognition is providing our customers of all sizes and all types of industries in law enforcement, and out of law enforcement."

  • Jassy said he feels it's the government's responsibility to instill regulations around using Rekognition, adding that Amazon has "a set of terms and services ... if people violate those terms of services and don't use them responsibly, they won't be able to use our services any longer."
  • One Amazon employee told BuzzFeed: "It's hard to trust that harm and abuse can be prevented if it is only post-mortem and through the Terms of Service."

Go deeper: The police technology revolution no one is hearing about

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Exclusive: Global trust in the tech industry is slipping

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The backlash against Big Tech has long flourished among pundits and policymakers, but a new survey suggests it's beginning to show up in popular opinion as well.

Driving the news: New data from Edelman out Tuesday finds that trust in tech companies is declining and that people trust cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence less than they do the industry overall.

"It was 30 years ago, get over it": Mike Bloomberg's partner brushes off NDA concerns

Diana Taylor at a Mike Bloomberg event last month. Photo: Ron Adar/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Diana Taylor, Mike Bloomberg's longtime partner, dismissed the concerns surrounding non-disclosure agreements used at his company, Bloomberg LP, telling CBS News that she would say to those bothered by the allegations, "It was 30 years ago, get over it."

Why it matters: Democratic candidates have used the NDAs as a talking point against Bloomberg, calling on him to allow women to speak about the reported sexual harassment and gender discrimination they faced while working for him.

Trump's opportunity to use Bernie as an economic scapegoat

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Zach Gibson/Stringer, The Washington Post/Getty Contributor

Bernie Sanders is poised to become an economic scapegoat for both the White House and Corporate America, assuming that Sanders comes through Super Tuesday unscathed.

The big picture: If the U.S. economy remains strong, President Trump and CEOs will claim credit (as they've been doing for three years). If it turns sour, they'll blame Bernie (even though it's a largely baseless charge).