The City of Orlando, Florida today confirmed that a pilot program involving the use of Amazon’s Rekognition facial technology has come to an end. The announcement comes a week after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and nearly 89 other groups protested the sale of the system to police officers.
“Staff continues to discuss and evaluate whether to recommend continuation of the pilot at a further date,” the Orlando Police Department wrote in a statement issued jointly with the city. “At this time, that process is still ongoing and the contract with Amazon remains expired.”
But the city and police department left open the possibility that they might pursue a contract at a future date.
“The City of Orlando is always looking for new solutions to further our ability to keep our residents and visitors safe,” the joint statement said. “Partnering with innovative companies to test new technology — while also ensuring we uphold privacy laws and in no way violate the rights of others — is critical to us as we work to further keep our community safe.”
An Amazon spokesperson told VentureBeat that the program was a pilot and “had a discernable end date.”
“We did a professional services engagement with the city or Orlando …,” they said. “That this engagement ended was expected and is not news.”
News that Amazon had supplied U.S. law enforcement with facial identification technology broke in May, following a six-month investigation by the ACLU into dealings between Amazon Web Services (AWS) — the division within Amazon that oversees Rekognition — and the Orlando…