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Amazon urged not to sell facial recognition tool to police

first_imgThe American Civil Liberties Union and other privacy advocates are asking Amazon to stop marketing a powerful facial recognition tool to police, saying law enforcement agencies could use the technology to “easily build a system to automate the identification and tracking of anyone.” Chinese police don high-tech glasses to nab suspects The tool, called Rekognition, is already being used by at least one agency—the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon—to check photographs of unidentified suspects against a database of mug shots from the county jail, which is a common use of such technology around the country.But privacy advocates have been concerned about expanding the use of facial recognition to body cameras worn by officers or safety and traffic cameras that monitor public areas, allowing police to identify and track people in real time.Amazon is offering the technology at a low cost to police agencies. Given its reach, the tech giant’s entry into the market could vastly accelerate government surveillance capabilities, the privacy advocates fear, with potentially dire consequences for minorities who are already arrested at disproportionate rates, immigrants who may be in the country illegally or political protesters.”People should be free to walk down the street without being watched by the government,” the groups wrote in a letter to Amazon on Tuesday. “Facial recognition in American communities threatens this freedom.”Amazon released Rekognition in late 2016, and the sheriff’s office in Washington County, west of Portland, became one of its first law enforcement agency customers.A year later, deputies were using it about 20 times per day—for example, to identify burglary suspects in store surveillance footage. Last month, the agency adopted policies governing its use, noting that officers in the field can use real-time face recognition to identify suspects who are unwilling or unable to provide their own ID, or if someone’s life is in danger.”We are not mass-collecting. We are not putting a camera out on a street corner,” said Deputy Jeff Talbot, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office. “We want our local community to be aware of what we’re doing, how we’re using it to solve crimes—what it is and, just as importantly, what it is not.”It cost the sheriff’s office just $400 to load 305,000 booking photos into the system and $6 per month in fees to continue the service, according to an email obtained by the ACLU under a public records request. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. In this March 12, 2015, file photo, Seattle police officer Debra Pelich, right, wears a video camera on her eyeglasses as she talks with Alex Legesse before a small community gathering in Seattle. While the Seattle Police Department bars officers from using real-time facial recognition in body camera video, privacy activists are concerned that a proliferation of the technology could turn the cameras into tools of mass surveillance. The ACLU and other organizations on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, asked Amazon to stop selling its facial-recognition tool, called Rekognition, to law enforcement agencies. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File) This Sept. 6, 2012, file photo, shows the Amazon logo. The American Civil Liberties Union and other privacy activists are asking Amazon to stop marketing a powerful facial recognition tool to police, saying law enforcement agencies could use the technology to “easily build a system to automate the identification and tracking of anyone.” (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File) Last year, the Orlando, Florida, Police Department announced it would begin a pilot program relying on Amazon’s technology to “use existing city resources to provide real-time detection and notification of persons-of-interest, further increasing public safety.”Orlando has a network of public safety cameras, and in a presentation posted to YouTube this month , Ranju Das, who leads Amazon Rekognition, said the company would receive feeds from the cameras, search them against photos of people being sought by law enforcement and notify police of any hits.”It’s about recognizing people, it’s about tracking people, and then it’s about doing this in real time, so that the law enforcement officers … can be then alerted in real time to events that are happening,” he said.The Orlando Police Department declined to make anyone available for an interview about the program but said in an email that it “is not using the technology in an investigative capacity or in any public spaces at this time.”The testing has been limited to eight city-owned cameras and a handful of officers who volunteered to have their images used to see if the technology works, Sgt. Eduardo Bernal said in a follow-up email Tuesday.”As this is a pilot and not being actively used by OPD as a surveillance tool, there is no policy or procedure regarding its use as it is not deployed in that manner,” Bernal wrote.The letter to Amazon followed public records requests from ACLU chapters in California, Oregon and Florida. More than two dozen organizations signed it, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Human Rights Watch.Clare Garvie, an associate at the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown University Law Center, said part of the problem with real-time face recognition is its potential impact on free-speech rights.While police might be able to videotape public demonstrations, face recognition is not merely an extension of photography but a biometric measurement—more akin to police walking through a demonstration and demanding identification from everyone there.Amazon’s technology isn’t that different from what face recognition companies are already selling to law enforcement agencies. But its vast reach and its interest in recruiting more police departments to take part raise concerns, she said.”This raises very real questions about the ability to remain anonymous in public spaces,” Garvie said. © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Amazon Web Services did not answer emailed questions about how many law enforcement agencies are using Rekognition, but in a written statement the company said it requires all of its customers to comply with the law and to be responsible in the use of its products.The statement said some agencies have used the program to find abducted people, and amusement parks have used it to find lost children. British broadcaster Sky News used Rekognition to help viewers identify celebrities at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle last weekend. Citation: Amazon urged not to sell facial recognition tool to police (2018, May 22) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-aclu-amazon-shouldnt-face-recognition-tech.html Explore furtherlast_img read more

Spotlight on role of automated trading amid Wall Street swoon

first_imgSome critics question whether the stock market’s recent swoon has been exacerbated by automated trading This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. “They are looking to buy the cheap ones,” Tabb said, adding, “most models actually dampen volatility rather than enhance volatility.”‘Flash Crash’At the same time, Tabb concedes that the proliferation of exchanges where stocks are bought and sold can result in limited liquidity on platforms. That can make markets vulnerable to a “flash crash,” although this possibility was mitigated with circuit breakers instituted after 2010.The system of automated trading is “all about supply and demand like it’s always been,” Tabb said. “It’s just a supply and demand at a quicker pace.” Another oft-cited risk is the tendency for computers to behave with “herd”-like behavior because they are engineered in a similar fashion. “Because of the design similarities, they tend to buy and sell futures at similar price levels,” said Peter Hahn, co-founder of Bridgeton Research Group.”When they are hitting ‘sell’ stop-loss levels at similar times they can add significant price pressure at the beginning of down-trends,” said Hahn, adding that the impact is more muted when trades are triggered by fundamental factors, such as an economic indicator.Kolanovic warned that the shift away from active investment could pinch the market’s ability to “prevent and recover from large drawdowns.””The $2 trillion rotation from active and value to passive and momentum strategies since the last crisis eliminated a large pool of assets that would be standing ready to buy cheap public securities and backstop a market disruption,” Kolanovic said. Explore further Since the 2008 financial crisis, investors have increasingly turned to computerized trading systems that have been programmed to render quickfire “buy” and “sell” orders based on economic data, utterances of central bankers or complex artificial intelligence software that employ algorithms.Though set up by humans, these trades are based on a snap assessment that lacks the subtle discernment of the human eye. Whenever an unexpected lurch on Wall Street slams investors, fingers are pointed at such systems that increasingly dominate trading. Critics have questioned whether the market’s recent swoon—which could result in the worst December since the Great Depression—is due to a liquidity drain and other unanticipated effects of the computerization of trading, rather than fundamental economic factors at a time when US unemployment is low and economic growth is solid. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in a recent interview with Bloomberg, blamed the uptick in volatility on the surge in high-frequency trading, a type of automated trading.Trading from quantitative hedge funds relying on computer models now accounts for 28.7 percent of overall volumes in the United States, according to the Tabb Group consultancy. That is more than twice the share from five years ago and, since 2017, above the percentage held by individual investors. JPMorgan Chase analyst Marko Kolanovic has estimated that only about one-third of the assets in the stock market are actively managed and that only 10 percent of the daily trading volume is the result of specific deliberation.But while the rise of automated trading is undeniable, it is less clear that it is responsible for increased market turmoil. Traders have had a nervous December, which could be Wall Street’s worst since the Great Depression Tabb Group Founder Larry Tabb said most electronic trading firms employ algorithms that identify and take advantage of price discrepancies between the price of a given security and what it fetches elsewhere. Greater market liquidity actually increases risk: study The recent tumult in financial markets has shined a light on the rising role of automated trading on Wall Street and whether it is exacerbating volatility. © 2018 AFP Citation: Spotlight on role of automated trading amid Wall Street swoon (2018, December 28) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-12-spotlight-role-automated-wall-street.htmllast_img read more