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Orlando Police Could ID You Before Meeting You With Software It's Testing

The City doesn't currently have a policy for the use of this software as it's only being used in a second pilot program.

Facial recognition software being used in China | Screen Grab: Wall Street Journal

The City of Orlando and Orlando Police Department announced Monday they will be starting a new second phase proof of concept (POC) pilot program for the Amazon Rekognition facial recognition software.

Amazon Rekognition, if eventually approved by the City, would give Police the following abilities:

  1. Perform face searches in real time against collections of tens of millions of faces that the Police would provide.

  2. Track those faces even when the camera is in motion. In May, Police Chief John Mina stated that Rekognition could be used in police officer body cams in the future. For example, an Officer could look at a large crowd and, using his body cam, know who in the crowd is a Felon. Or who is from Tampa.

  3. Track those faces even when their face is blocked

  4. Track those faces even when they move in and out of the frame

This second pilot will involve staff evaluation and internal testing of the software using film gathered from 8 City-owned cameras:

However, a written OPD statement admitted, "The number of cameras may be increased to ensure this technology solution can function as designed with a larger volume."

Facial recognition software is currently in use in China | Screen Grab: Wall Street Journal

No images of the public will be used for any testing during the second pilot according to the City. The cameras will only be used on seven police officers who volunteered. The technology will not be used in an investigative capacity and that all elements of the pilot are in accordance with current and applicable law, upholding all privacy laws and ensuring there are no violations of any individual’s civil rights.

In June, 11 groups wrote an open letter to Orlando Police Chief John Mina during the first pilot program for this software, asking him to reconsider the use of such technology due to privacy concerns.

Following the second pilot, if the City of Orlando Police Department decides to ultimately implement official use of the technology, City staff would explore procurement and develop a policy and governance surrounding the technology at that time.

Facial recognition software is already widely used for public safety purposes in China. It's also used to shame jaywalkers. The country has 200 million surveillance cameras. Some police officers there even have facial recognition glasses.


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