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Shareholder efforts to curb Amazon facial recognition tech fall short

first_img Amazon Privacy Share your voice Tags 1:11 Privacy advocates have issues with Amazon’s facial recognition… Comments Security Internet Now playing: Watch this: Amazon, meanwhile, sells Rekognition to policing agencies, with one sheriff’s office in Oregon already using the software to investigate crimes and make arrests.The company has also joined the call for more legislation and guidelines on facial recognition tech, but made no indication it would stop selling Rekognition to policing agencies.”New technology should not be banned or condemned because of its potential misuse,” Michael Punke, Amazon Web Services’ vice president of global public policy, said in a blog post in February. “Instead, there should be open, honest and earnest dialogue among all parties involved to ensure that the technology is applied appropriately and is continuously enhanced.”That position has brought a growing wave of criticism against Amazon, with civil liberties groups, members of Congress and its own employees calling on the e-commerce and cloud-computing giant to curb its sale of Rekognition to police. Open MIC, which helped organize the vote, said in a statement that this issue would not be going away.”Amazon’s refusal to acknowledge and confront the potential harms of Rekognition is ongoing evidence of corporate arrogance,” Michael Connor, Open MIC’s executive director, said in an email. “Investors have a right to know how Amazon intends to address these material risks to the company and its reputation. As one of the leading technology companies in the world, Amazon can and must do better.” Concerns about Rekognition also came up during public hearings before the New York City Council on Amazon’s failed proposal to build a new campus in the city, with council members repeatedly chastising the company for marketing Rekognition to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.Amazon on Wednesday said all other shareholder proposals also didn’t pass. Those included a call to study Amazon’s impact on climate change, a request for a report on how Amazon addresses hate speech and offensive products on its platform, and a proposal to elect an independent chairman so Bezos wasn’t both CEO and the head of the board. Originally published at 9:52 a.m. PT.Updated at 9:57 a.m. PT: Adds remarks from the ACLU. At 10:33 a.m. PT: To add responses from Open MIC. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images Two Amazon shareholder proposals about the company’s controversial facial recognition technology failed to pass Wednesday, following a concerted push by civil rights groups and activist investors.One proposal would have banned Amazon from selling its Rekognition technology to government agencies unless it first determines the software doesn’t infringe on civil liberties. The other proposal called for an independent study of the potential privacy and human rights violations caused by Rekognition.Both proposals were presented at Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting in Seattle on Wednesday. The company said it isn’t disclosing the vote tallies until this Friday.”The fact that there needed to be a vote on this is an embarrassment for Amazon’s leadership team. It demonstrates shareholders do not have confidence that company executives are properly understanding or addressing the civil and human rights impacts of its role in facilitating pervasive government surveillance,” Shankar Narayan, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington’s Technology and Liberty Project director, said in a statement. “While we have yet to see the exact breakdown of the vote, this shareholder intervention should serve as a wake-up call for the company to reckon with the real harms of face surveillance and to change course.”Both proposals, which were non-binding, were long shots to pass, since Amazon’s board said it was against the proposals. Major shareholders typically follow such positions to show support for the board. Also, CEO Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s board chairman, is the company’s biggest shareholder, controlling about 16% of its stock, and wasn’t expected to vote for either proposal.Amazon said it was against the proposals because the technology has proven its value in improving public safety, adding to its view that Rekognition provides “material benefits to both society and organizations” using the software.The decision quickly reached Capital Hill, where lawmakers were holding a hearing looking at facial recognition’s effects on civil liberties.”I just got word that the shareholders did not end up passing a ban on the sale of Rekognition,” Rep. Jimmy Gomez, a Democrat from California, said at the hearing. “That just means that it’s more important that Congress acts.”Despite the failure of the shareholder votes, the groups pushing for changes to Rekognition’s use succeeded in raising awareness about the technology and keeping pressure on Amazon. Organizations like the ACLU have spoken out against face identification’s use, saying it could quickly turn the US into a surveillance state and infringe on people’s privacy.Following the shareholder vote Wednesday, it seems likely activists will continue pushing against Rekognition’s use but find other public venues to do so.Both Google and Microsoft have publicly said they won’t sell their facial recognition tech to law enforcement, instead asking for new laws to guide their use. In less controversial settings, facial recognition tech is also used to unlock Apple iPhones using the Face ID feature and to check travelers’ identities at government kiosks at US airports.”It’s not just our test, it’s other tests that have noted similar problems with Amazon’s software and other face recognition algorithms,” the ACLU’s senior legislative counsel Neema Singh Guliani told Congress members at a hearing on Wednesday.  2 We’re at @Amazon’s shareholder meeting today urging shareholders to take action in response to the company’s failure to address the civil rights impacts of its face surveillance technology.Ironically, Amazon won’t allow cameras into the meeting, so we’ve filmed a short preview: pic.twitter.com/tNN4pkK4tG— ACLU (@ACLU) May 22, 2019last_img read more

Vespa S Launched in India Price and Features Details

first_imgPiaggio’s latest offering Vespa S has officially entered the Indian two-wheeler market on Wednesday, with a price tag of ₹74,400 (ex-showroom Pune).The scooter, which made its first appearance at the Delhi Auto Expo 2014, houses new rectangular shaped headlights and ORVMs. The scooter looks stylish in its design and comes with powder-coated three-spoke alloy wheels. However, the disc brakes and suspension remain the same as that of its previous models.Vespa S packs the same 125cc, four-stroke, three-valve single cylinder engine, which pumps in a power of 10.06PS at 7,500rpm and 10.6Nm of torque at 6,000 rpm. The engine is mated to a CVT transmission system and packs single-side hydraulic front shock absorber and rear monoshock. The company claims a fuel efficiency of over 60kmpl.”Piaggio is delighted at to present Vespa S to the dynamic youth in India. As we move closer to our two years existence in the Indian market, we are proud to launch our third Vespato to further strengthen the premium segment we have created. The Vespa S is truly a game changer. With it square design elements, it has opened up a new, non-conventional space. We understand the needs of the aspirational consumers and believe that the Vespa S will enable them to experience another notch in the Vespa lifestyle,” said Ravi Chopra, Chairman and Managing Director of Piaggio Vehicles Private Limited, according to Motoroids.The new Vespa S will be offered in India in four colours – Orange, White, Red and Matte Black. With the addition of the new model, Piaggio currently offers three models in the sub-continent market and is expected to expand its portfolio in the coming months.In Mumbai and Delhi, the new Vespa S is priced at ₹76,495 and ₹75,424 respectively (ex-showroom). The bookings for Vespa S has already been started in the country and it is believed that Piaggio is likely to start the delivery of the vehicle soon.last_img read more

Kamal says no space for autocracy in Bangladesh

first_imgKamal Hossain. File PhotoJatiya Oikya Front convener Kamal Hossain on Monday said those who think of giving autocracy a permanent shape in Bangladesh are living in fool’s paradise as people will surely wake up like that of the 60s to resist it, reports UNB.”Autocracy repeatedly tried to take a permanent shape in the country destroying democracy, but no one could do that. It’s a light of hope for us. As per my experience, I can give you a 100 per cent guarantee that there’s no space in Bangladesh for autocracy,” he said.Kamal, also the president of Gono Forum, further said, “If the autocrats think they’ll be able to hang onto power for lifelong time using guns, money and other influences, they’re living in fool’s paradise.”He was speaking at a civic condolence meeting at the National Press Club in memory of journalist Mahfuz Ullah who died at a hospital in Thailand on 27 April last. Former adviser to a caretaker government Akbar Ali Khan presided over the programme.Mentioning that many signs of autocracy are visible in the country, Kamal said only people’s unity can help overcome it.Mahfuz Ullah always spoke the truth without any fear and took stanch in favour of fairness taking risk. “It’s still risky to speak the truth here. But there’s no reason for us to be disappointed,” Kamal said.Referring to the presence of cross-section of people and leaders of different political parties at the condolence meeting, Kamal said it proves people have still attraction for unity. “Let’s get united based on fairness and the spirit of the Liberation War to take place a mass-upsurge against autocracy like that of the 60s.”He also said those who will try to divert people from the way of freedom and Liberation War will finally become unsuccessful. “We’re in favour of path of freedom and we’ll turn victorious.”The Gono Forum president said Mahfuz Ullah tried to inspire people for bringing a social change and ensure their freedom with his fearless assertions. “He’ll remain as a source of inspiration for us. We should continue to put in efforts to forge a greater unity and use the power of unity to materialise Mahfuz Ullah’s dream.”Akbar Ali Khan said Mahfuz Ullah made outstanding contributions to his profession, especially to environmental journalism.”Mahfuz Ullah was also a good writer for which people will remember him for a long time. He could not complete the writing of some more books. Had he been alive, he could have given us courage and strengthened our journey towards democracy,” he observed.Akbar Ali said Mahfuz Ullah authored the biographies of some politicians of a particular party based on research and correct information. “Those biographies were necessary from the historical point of view.”BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said Mahfuz Ullah tried to bring a social change, turn Bangladesh into a welfare state to make the country’s independence meaningful and fortify democracy by playing a strong role as a journalist.Recalling that the journalist severely criticised BNP at a programme in presence of him, the BNP leader said Mahfuz Ullah never hesitated to speak the truth.”At the tough time of the country, he tried to wake us up with his fearless voice and writings presenting the truth. I miss him a lot as he could inspire us not to get disappointed, but be vocal and courageous,” he observed.Fakhrul also turned emotional recalling Mahfuz Ullah’s close relation with him.Bangladesh Workers Party president Rashed Khan Menon said Mahfuz Ullah was a brave and honest journalist who will remain alive with his many books and other works.Menon said Mahfuz Ullah will also be remembered by people for a long time for his book titled ‘Purba Pakistan Chhatra Unioner Itihas’. “It’s his outstanding contribution to politics.”Ex-VC of Dhaka University professor Emajuddin Ahamed, BNP standing committee members Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, senior Awami League leader Nooh-ul-Alam Lenin, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal president ASM Abdur Rob, Nagorik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna, former caretaker government adviser Barrister Mainul Hosein, Gonoshasthya Kendra founder Zafrullah Chowdhury, former cabinet secretary Saadat Husain, Dhaka University professor Asif Nazrul, former Bangladesh Bank governor Salehuddin Ahmed, senior journalist Reazuddin Ahmed, Daily New Age editor Nurul Kabir, Manabzamin editor Matiur Rahman Chowdhury and National Press Club president Saiful Alam, among others, spoke at the programme.last_img read more