Wednesday, October 21

DHS shifting biometric screening device to Amazon Internet Products and services amid debate over govt tech

(Fb Picture / Division of Native land Safety)

The Division of Native land Safety is migrating the device it makes use of to seek for other folks the usage of biometric knowledge to Amazon’s cloud.

The id device is these days hosted on DHS servers however the company is within the technique of shifting it over the Amazon Internet Products and services’ GovCloud, a bunch of knowledge facilities constructed with additional safety for presidency purchasers. DHS disclosed the migration in a request for info related to this system. The shift implies that biometric knowledge from tens of hundreds of thousands of other folks will now survive Amazon servers.

The device is a catchall for fingerprints, iris scans, photographs of faces, and different data amassed through the company’s more than a few departments, like TSA, FEMA, and ICE. It permits officers to scan a database and briefly establish undocumented immigrants, terrorist suspects, and folks of pastime.

The database is utilized by “DHS, different Federal businesses, State and native regulation enforcement, the intelligence group, and global companions to improve counterterrorism, immigration and regulation enforcement, and credentialing efforts bearing on identification products and services,” in step with the report.

The migration comes as Amazon and different tech firms are beneath higher scrutiny for his or her dating with governments. Civil rights teams, AI researchers, staff, and shareholders have known as for Amazon to prevent promoting its facial popularity tool to regulation enforcement businesses.

Replace: DHS spokesperson Travis Edwards mentioned the company does no longer plan to make use of Amazon’s facial popularity tool within the first two levels of the biometric knowledge venture. Requested whether or not DHS would enforce the tool in a while within the procedure, he mentioned, “there aren’t any plans” to make use of the generation right now.

Amazon isn’t the one tech massive going through backlash for partnering with govt purchasers. Microsoft and Google have additionally come beneath fireplace for products and services they supply to federal businesses. Whilst Microsoft and Amazon have mentioned they are going to proceed to spouse with the general public sector, probably the most grievance were given via to Google. Final yr the quest massive canceled a freelance with the Pentagon after hundreds of staff petitioned in opposition to the venture.

Amazon didn’t reply to requests to remark for this tale, which used to be first noticed through Nextgov.