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Amazon beats shareholder revolt over its highly controversial facial recognition system 


Amazon beats shareholder revolt over its highly controversial facial recognition system

Amazon's Rekognition system has been branded ‘perhaps the most dangerous surveillance technology ever developed’

Amazon’s Rekognition system has been branded ‘perhaps the most dangerous surveillance technology ever developed’

Amazon headed off a rare shareholder revolt aimed at forcing it to curb sales of its controversial facial recognition software.

Its Rekognition system has been branded ‘perhaps the most dangerous surveillance technology ever developed’ by civil rights groups, who argue it can be misused. 

There are suggestions that it wrongly identifies people, and fears it could be used by oppressive regimes.

The concerns prompted some shareholders to put forward two non-binding motions at the firm’s annual general meeting, urging it to stop selling Rekognition to governments and to commission a review of it.

Last night both proposals were defeated, but defiant campaigners from the American Civil Liberties Union said: ‘The fact that there needed to be a vote on this is an embarrassment for Amazon’s leadership.’ 

The proposals faced an uphill battle, with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos controlling 16 per cent of shares .

It had also made aggressive bids to try to stop the votes taking place, telling regulators that Rekognition was not a significant part of its business.

 

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