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Amazon shareholders urged to vote for facial recognition ban

The American Civil Liberties Union is heaping pressure on Amazon against its practice of selling facial recongition software to law enforcement.

The civil rights group has written to the company's shareholders two days before the annual shareholder meeting urging them to ote on two proposals to curb the use of the Rekognition technology.

In a letter, ACLU said: "Without shareholder action, Amazon may soon become known more for its role in facilitating pervasive government surveillance than for its consumer retail operations."

The two proposals call for Amazon to study the Rekognition software's use by police, and to ban its sale to law enforcement.

However, Amazon's board has recommended its shareholders - including influential CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, who control around 16% of its shares - vote against both proposals.

In the past, the online retailer has defended its software and its decision to work with US forces.

When ACLU criticised the move last year, the company responded in a statement: "Our quality of life would be much worse today if we outlawed new technology because some people could choose to abuse the technology...

"Imagine if customers couldn't buy a computer because it was possible to use that computer for illegal purposes?"

It argued that the technology has been used in the past to find missing children, and that there was great potential when it comes to fighting crime.

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