Arrested development: Cops dump Amazon's facial-recognition API after struggling to make the thing work properly | 7/18/2019 | Staff
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Cops in Orlando have given up using Amazon’s controversial cloud-hosted facial-recognition software with CCTV cameras around the Florida city after a string of technical breakdowns.

The decision comes after officers attempted to tap into Amazon’s Rekognition API to automatically flag up suspected criminals in streams of live footage from surveillance cameras. After 15 months of fruitlessly trying to get the thing working properly, with help from Amazon's staffers, the US city's police force this week cancelled its contract with the web giant.

Stream - Today - City - Information - Officer

"We haven't even established a stream today," the city’s chief information officer Rosa Akhtarkhavari told the Orlando Weekly. "We're talking about more than a year later. We have not, today, established a reliable stream."

The plod wanted to feed photos of suspected or known crooks into the Rekognition API, running on Amazon Web Services, and have the software automatically search live CCTV camera footage for occurrences of those faces in real time, allowing officers to know immediately the whereabouts of persons of interest. Amazon techies had apparently visited the city numerous times to work with the police to get the system to work properly.


'Randomly disconnect'

Akhtarkhavari complained of “bandwidth issues” when more than one camera feed was fed into Rekognition. When the software happened to work with the city’s CCTV, video feeds would “randomly disconnect,” we're told. The cloud-based technology was never quite good enough to even start the pilot program that would monitor citizens in Orlando: "We've never gotten to the point to test images," the info officer said.

Headaches - Part - Problem - Former - Orlando

There were other headaches. It looks like part of the problem may have been down to the cameras themselves. Former Orlando police chief John Mina said that the devices didn’t seem...
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