In this March 12, 2015, file photo, Seattle police officer Debra Pelich, right, wears a video camera on her eyeglasses as she talks with Alex Legesse before a small community gathering in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
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Amazon's decision to market a powerful face recognition tool to police is alarming privacy advocates, who say the tech giant's reach could vastly accelerate a dystopian future in which camera-equipped officers can identify and track people in real time, whether they're involved in crimes or not.The Washington County Sheriff's Office in Oregon has used it to quickly compare unidentified suspects in surveillance images to a database of more than 300,000 booking photos from the county jail -- a common use of such technology around the country -- while the Orlando Police Department in Florida is testing whether it can be used to single out persons-of-interest in public spaces and alert officers to their presence.Amazon's technology isn't that different from what face recognition companies are already selling to law enforcement agencies.Amazon released Rekognition in late 2016, and the sheriff's office in Washington County, west of Portland, became one of its first law enforcement agency customers.It cost the sheriff's office just $400 to load 305,000 booking photos -- which are already public records -- into the system and $6 a month in fees to continue the service, according to an email obtained by the ACLU under a public records request.
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