Amazon shareholders support selling controversial face recognition to police

Amazon shareholders rejected proposals to prohibit sales of its facial recognition technology to governments and police forces.

Two proposals concerning the sale and use of Amazon’s controversial surveillance tool Rekognition were voted down by Amazon’s board of directors on Wednesday after being presented by a group of shareholders.

READ MORE: Amazon prepares for facial recognition vote

The first proposal called on the Amazon board of directors to ban sales of facial recognition technology to government agencies unless it concluded, based on independent evidence, that it would not contribute to violations of civil or human rights.

The second proposal rejected by shareholders argued that Amazon should fund an independent study of Rekognition to assess the extent to which such technology could endanger privacy or civil rights, or disproportionately target people of colour, immigrants or activists in the United States.

Although the votes are non-binding, the proposals mirror wider concern in the general public over the tech and retail giant selling surveillance technology in a largely unregulated space. 

Back in October some 450 of Amazon’s own workers have opposed the sale of the technology, signing a letter delivered to Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos and other executives.

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