The City of Orlando along with the Orlando Police Department (OPD) have expanded their dedication to keeping residents of Central Florida safe with their recent exploration into facial recognition technology. “The objective is to determine if this technology would reliably allow law enforcement to locate specific identifiable dangerous threats as they move around the city closing in on possible targets,” stated the memo from OPD to Mayor Buddy Dyer as well as a variety of other district commissioners in Central Florida.
OPD has partnered with innovative companies like Amazon Web Services to test out these new programs and introduce them to officers that might one day use them in the field. This technology includes Amazon Rekognition facial recognition software to determine if this technology could reliably identify specific individuals as they come within view of specific cameras. Currently, the program is in the second phase of its pilot program and is only including video streams from city-owned cameras and photos of the faces of seven police officers who volunteered to have their images used in the pilot program, not the general public.
The City of Orlando previously collaborated with Amazon Web Services to test Rekognition technology through their six-month initial pilot program that started on December 19, 2017, and ended June 19, 2018.
“We have made good strides in testing this technology and believe it is important to continue this evaluation period to determine if it’s a concept that could add immeasurable value in enhancing the city’s public safety mission in a manner that balances reasonable privacy concerns,” said Orlando Police Chief John Mina.
The next step in furthering the pilot process includes working with Amazon Web Services to “refine a Statement of Work” that further outlines the specifics of this second-phase pilot, parameters and controls utilized.
These pilot parameters, according to OPD, include:
- No images of the public will be used for any testing – only images of Orlando police officers who have volunteered to participate in the test pilot will be used.
- Limited utilization of eight designated video streams from city-owned cameras are located at the following places: four at Orlando Police Headquarters, three IRIS cameras, and one at another city facility.
- As part of the pilot, the technology will not be used in an investigative capacity.
All elements of the pilot are in accordance with current and applicable law, upholding all privacy laws and ensuring there are no violations of any individual’s civil rights.
After this pilot program concludes, OPD will then decide whether or not they want to implement this technology, and then the City of Orlando would explore procurement and develop a policy and governance surrounding the technology at that time.
For more information about the pilot, please visit the project web page at https://beta.orlando.gov/NewsEventsInitiatives/Facial-Recognition-Pilot-Program.