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Tech Giant Amazon Bans facial recognition software for police in US

Syed Umarullah HussainiWeb Editor

11th Jun, 2020. 10:28 am
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Tech giant Amazon has banned the police from using its controversial facial recognition software for a year amid a growing backlash over the tech company’s ties to law enforcement.

According to the details, the ban comes after civil rights advocates raised concerns about potential racial bias in surveillance technology.

The decisions follow growing pressure on firms to respond to the death in police custody of George Floyd.

The company has recently stated its support for the Black Lives Matter movement, which advocates for police reform – using the micro-blogging site Twitter to call for an end to “the inequitable and brutal treatment of black people” in the US.

The tech giant Amazon said the suspension of law enforcement use of its Rekognition software was to give US lawmakers the opportunity to enact a bill to regulate how the technology is employed.

“We’ve advocated that governments should put in place stronger regulations to govern the ethical use of facial recognition technology, and in recent days, Congress appears ready to take on this challenge,” Amazon said in a statement.

“We hope this one-year moratorium might give Congress enough time to implement appropriate rules, and we stand ready to help if requested.”
However, the company said that it would still allow organizations that deal with human trafficking to use the technology.

The tech giant Amazon has not said how many police forces use the technology, or how it is used, but marketing materials have advanced Rekognition being used in conjunction with police body cameras in real-time.

Earlier this week IBM said it would no longer offer its facial recognition technology because AI systems used in law enforcement need to be tested “for bias”.

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