LAST UPDATED: June 11, 2020, 09:55 a.m. EDT: Amazon has banned police to use it’s facial recognition technology “Rekognition“ to identify people. This is done after amazon was in huge pressure from different civil rights authorities as well as amazon’s own employee. On 25 May 2020, Minneapolis police officer’s video went viral where he was pressing his knee on a neck of a black man named George Floyd for 9 minutes. Geroge Floyd found dead after this incident.
A nationwide protest started in support of the black community to end racial discrimination in the united states. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos also showed his support to the “black lives matter” movement.
Now Amazon has put a year moratorium on police to stop using their facial recognition technology. Amazon published a blog post and announced this decision. In brief, he said:
“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”
Law enforcement agencies use facial recognition technology to identify criminals. But amazon’s facial recognition technology called “Rekoginition” is not 100% foolproof yet. Critics argue that it can be used unethically. Studies led by MIT researcher Joy Buolamwini found racial and gender disparities in facial recognition software. A number of US cities have already banned its use by police and other government agencies, led by San Francisco last year. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said:
“Facial recognition is a horrifying, inaccurate tool that fuels racial profiling and mass surveillance,” “It regularly falsely [identifies] Black and Brown people as criminal”.
Shout out to @IBM for halting dev on technology shown to harm society.
Facial recognition is a horrifying, inaccurate tool that fuels racial profiling + mass surveillance. It regularly falsely ID’s Black + Brown people as criminal.
It shouldn’t be anywhere near law enforcement. https://t.co/SOU670yRVc
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) June 10, 2020
Nicole Ozer, technology and civil liberties director with the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, said “glad the company is finally recognizing the dangers face recognition poses to Black and Brown communities and civil rights more broadly,” but that it was not enough to combat the threat to “our civil rights and civil liberties.”
Before Amazon, on Monday IBM also said that they will no longer offer facial recognition software. IBM CEO Arvind Krishna asked Congress to do reforms to advance racial justice.