Police do more testing on facial recognition technology

- After the Amazon Facial Recognition pilot program expired late last month, Orlando police say they want to restart the program because they need more time to test it out.

“As of right now it’s not been proven that the system actually works the way it’s set up to be,” said Orlando Police Chief John Mina.

That’s why Mina wants more time to test out the facial recognition software. 

The previous pilot program expired after six months, at today’s city council meeting Mayor Buddy Dyer supported the extension.

“I’m extremely proud that Amazon would want to partner with the city of Orlando, because of our strong commitment to innovative government,” Dyer said. 

In a memo to the Mayor and City Council, Mina specifically referenced the search for accused cop killer Markeith Lloyd as well as the initial search for accused stalker Michael Hunt, who allegedly threatened to harm singer Lana del Ray in February

“Fortunately a very alert police officer saw him a block away from the arena,” Mina said.

Officers found hunt within two blocks of the Amway Center where she was performing in concert, Mina says facial recognition technology would have been a game changer in both situations.

“If that technology was put in place and we would’ve recognized his image, before he got closer to that area where the crowds are, it’s safer for the public,” Mina said.

Last month the ACLU blasted the City of Orlando citing privacy concerns, but Orlando police will use eight city owned cameras and like the previous program, they will only test the images of seven police employees who volunteer to participate, images of the public will not be utilized and the technology will not be used for investigative purposes 

“I can assure you that images of ordinary citizens aren’t being put into the system right now,” Mina said.

Police haven’t seen when the program will re-start, they could also utilize additional cameras in the future.

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