Amazon plans to sell companies a way to detect when staff are not wearing face masks or socially distancing.

Beyond the pandemic, the system could also be used to track compliance of other workplace rules or to monitor the public – for example, to check the number of customers queuing in a store.

It involves retrofitting a box to existing security cameras that can then draw on off-the-shelf AI apps.

But privacy campaigners have raised concerns.

Remote working has already led to an increase in the use of software that checks up on employees, but Amazon’s new solution is focused on tracking people and products in factories, shops and other traditional workplaces.

Amazon refutes the characterisation of its new product as a surveillance tool. A spokeswoman told the BBC it was designed to improve industrial operations and workplace safety, and that how it is used is up to customers.

“For example, AWS Panorama does not include any pre-packaged facial recognition capabilities,” she said.


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