In a surprise blog post, Amazon It would put a brake on providing its facial recognition technology to the police for a year.
The moratorium comes in two days after IBM said in a letter that it had completely left the facial recognition market. Arvind Krishna, IBM’s chief executive, cited a “pursuit of justice and racial equity” in the wake of protests triggered by the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis last month.
Amazon’s statement – just 102 words in length – did not explain why it was putting the postponement, but noted that Congress is “ready to work on strong rules governing the use of face recognition” – again someone Without providing details. In response to the Justice in Policing Act, it is likely that if a bill is passed, it restricts how police can use facial recognition technology.
“We hope that this one-year deferment can give Congress enough time to implement the appropriate rules, and we are ready to help if requested,” Amazon said in an unread blog post.
But the statement did not say if the moratorium would apply to the federal government, the source of most criticism against Amazon’s facial recognition technology. Amazon also did not say in the statement what action it would take after the end of the year.
Amazon is known to have introduced its facial recognition technology, recognition, to federal agencies like immigration and customs enforcement. Last year, Amazon’s cloud head Andy Jessie said in an interview that the company would give recognition to “any” government department.
Amazon spokesman Kristin Brown declined to comment further or say whether the moratorium applies to federal law enforcement.
There are dozens of companies providing facial recognition technology to the police, but Amazon is by far the largest. Amazon has come under most scrutiny after its investigation. Scanning-technology has shown a bias against people of color.
In 2018, the ACLU found that Recognition incorrectly added 28 members of Congress as criminals to the database. Amazon criticized the results, claiming that the ACLU lowered the confidence limits of the facial recognition system. But a year later, the ACLU of Massachusetts found that Recognition had unfairly matched 27 New England professional athletes against a mugshot database. Both tests mismatched uncultured black people, which was found to be ACLU.
Investors brought a proposal to Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting about a year ago that would have forcibly banned Amazon from selling its facial recognition technology to the government or law enforcement. Amazon defeated the vote by a wide margin.