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The FBI is Trying Amazon’s Facial-Recognition Software

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The FBI is piloting Amazon’s facial matching software—Amazon Rekognition—as a means to sift through mountains of video surveillance footage the agency routinely collects during investigations.

The pilot kicked off in early 2018 following a string of high-profile counterterrorism investigations that tested the limits of the FBI’s technological capabilities, according to FBI officials.

For example, in the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas carried out by Stephen Paddock, the law enforcement agency collected a petabyte worth of data, much of it video from cellphones and surveillance cameras.

“We had agents and analysts, eight per shift, working 24/7 for three weeks going through the video footage of everywhere Stephen Paddock was the month leading up to him coming and doing the shooting,” said FBI Deputy Assistant Director for Counterterrorism Christine Halvorsen.

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