Amazon.com Inc stated on Tuesday it’s extending till additional discover a moratorium it imposed final year on police use of its facial recognition software.
The company had halted the follow for one year beginning in June 2020. Its announcement got here on the top of protests throughout the United States towards police brutality towards individuals of colour, sparked by the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, throughout an arrest in Minnesota.
Civil liberties advocates have lengthy warned that wrong face matches by legislation enforcement might result in unjust arrests, in addition to to a loss of privateness and chilled freedom of expression.
Amazon’s extension, which Reuters was first to report, underscores how facial recognition stays a delicate subject for large corporations. The world’s largest on-line retailer didn’t remark on the rationale for its resolution.
Last year, it stated it hoped Congress would put in place guidelines to make sure moral use of the expertise, although no such legislation has materialized.
Nathan Freed Wessler, a deputy project director on the American Civil Liberties Union, expressed assist for Amazon’s transfer and known as on federal and state governments to ban legislation enforcement’s use of the software.
“Face recognition technology fuels the over-policing of Black and Brown communities, and has already led to the false arrests and wrongful incarcerations of multiple Black men,” he stated in an announcement.
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Amazon affords face-matching with “Rekognition,” a service from its cloud computing division. Customers relying on this system to search out human trafficking victims have nonetheless had entry to the facial recognition capabilities, Amazon has stated.
Critics have famous analysis born out of a project known as Gender Shades, which confirmed Rekognition struggled to find out the intercourse of people with darker pores and skin tones. Amazon has contested this.
Due to Amazon’s prominence and prior protection of facial recognition, its moratorium has carried significance. Rival Microsoft Corp stated shortly after Amazon’s announcement final June that it could await U.S. federal regulation earlier than promoting its face recognition software to police.
Pharmacy chain Rite Aid Corp additionally stopped use of the expertise at its shops, it stated the next month.