Today, Amazon said in a blog post, that they will ban police from using its facial recognition technology till next year. However, there is still no clarification on if the move applicable to federal law enforcement agencies too. As they have been the source of criticism against Amazon’s facial recognition technology.
The statement issues by Seattle based company did state any clear reasons for its moratorium. Besides, they have noted that the country is ready to work on stronger regulations around the use of facial recognition.
In the blog post, Amazon said “We hope this one-year moratorium might give Congress enough time to implement appropriate rules, and we stand ready to help if requested.” Also, the company did state the action it will take once the moratorium expires after a year.
Last year, Andy Jassy, Cloud Chief of Amazon, said in an interview that the company will provide Recognition to any government department. Kristin Brown, the company’s spokesperson, has declined to further comment or say anything.
Even though there are several other companies that are ready to provide facial recognition technology to police. Amazon is their biggest source. However, the e-commerce giant has faced increased scrutiny after its face-scanning technology showed bias against people of color.
In 2018, the ACLU the Amazon’s facial recognition has matched 28 members of Congress as criminals. As the result turned out to be false Amazon criticized the results. The giant also claimed that the ACLU had lowered the system’s threshold.
After a year later, the ACLU of Massachusetts found the system had falsely matched 27 professional athletes from New England against the database. Later the ACLU found that both tests have disproportionately mismatched Black people.
A proposal bough in a year ago, in Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting forcibly banned facial recognition technology from selling to the government. However, the company defeated its vote with a wide margin.