Amazon Suspends Police Usage of its Facial Recognition Tech for Some Time

Amazon stated it’s putting a one-year moratorium on use by police as Congress works on regulation to govern the technology.

Amazon has made the decision to briefly cease offering its facial recognition technology to police departments.

In a assertion, the tech inventory stated it is inserting a one-year moratorium on police use of its Rekognition software. Amazon stated it is going to proceed to permit teams, together with Thorn, the anti-human trafficking organization; the Worldwide Heart for Lacking and Exploited Children; and Marinus Analytics, which gives technology to fight human trafficking, to entry its technology.

A camera using facial recognition tech to scan a face.

“We have advocated that governments ought to put in place stronger laws to control the moral use of facial recognition technology, and in latest days, Congress seems able to tackle this problem,” wrote Amazon. “We hope this one-year moratorium would possibly give Congress sufficient time to implement applicable guidelines, and we stand prepared to assist if requested.”

Amazon did not give a cause why it’s instituting the moratorium now, however it does come within the wake of the killing of George Floyd whereas in Minneapolis police custody. That has sparked two weeks of protests calling for an finish to systemic racism and police brutality, prompting companies to take a stand.

Facial recognition technology has been discovered to have built-in racial biases. In 2018, lots of of Amazon employees sent a letter to CEO Jeff Bezos decrying its determination on the time to promote its facial recognition technology to regulation enforcement. It is not clear what number of police departments use Amazon’s technology right now.

Amazon is becoming a member of IBM and different tech shares in taking a stand in opposition to the technology. In a letter earlier this week, IBM introduced it is getting out of the facial recognition software program and analytics enterprise. Again in March, Microsoft stated it was divesting its stake in a facial recognition start-up and vowed to now not make minority investments in firms engaged on the technology.