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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Tanker truck plows into Minneapolis protesters

Authorities closed major roads at 5 p.m. local time in Minneapolis for the march. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Minnesota authorities said in a statement they're investigating as a criminal matter what happened with a truck that "drove into demonstrators" on a Minneapolis bridge Sunday evening while the eight-lane road was closed for a protest.

What they're saying: Minnesota Department of Public Safety tweeted, "Very disturbing actions by a truck driver on I-35W, inciting a crowd of peaceful demonstrators. The truck driver was injured & taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He is under arrest. It doesn’t appear any protesters were hit by the truck."

Updated 26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. enters 6th day of nationwide protests over George Floyd's killing

A protest in Philadelphia on May 31. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Local news footage captured a tanker truck appearing to drive toward protesters at a peaceful demonstration in Minneapolis, forcing demonstrators to quickly get out of the way of the incoming vehicle on Sunday evening.

The big picture: Protests have continued across the country for six days, as demonstrators call for justice in response to the deaths of George Floyd and other other black Americans who have died in police custody or who have been killed in racist attacks.

Inside Trump's antifa tweet

President Trump at Cape Canaveral on May 30. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

As recently as Saturday night, senior administration officials told me that the designation of a violent cohort of far-left activists, antifa, as a terrorist organization was not being seriously discussed at the White House. But that was Saturday.

Behind the scenes: The situation changed dramatically a few hours later, after prominent conservative allies of the president, such as his friend media commentator Dan Bongino, publicly urged a tough response against people associated with antifa (short for "anti-fascist").