Amazon prohibits police authorities to use Recognition – for one year12. June 2020
Amazon prohibits police authorities to use Recognition – for one year
New York, 10.6.2020
Amazon has now announced that it has banned the use of its facial recognition software Recognition for one year by the police. Amazon’s goal is to give Congress more time to implement rules around AI-enabled facial recognition. The reason: this software does not always objectively evaluate people with dark skin color.
Agencies such as Thorn and the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children are not affected by this ban. They could continue to use the recognition to help victims of human trafficking and missing children.
The company made no reference to the well-documented ethnic, racial and gender bias of Recognition, nor to the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests. ACLU testing had shown that the software disproportionately identified black and Latin American congressmen as criminals.
The digital rights group Fight for the Future called the ban on Amazon a public relations gag and said it did not go far enough. TechCrunch author Zack Whittaker stated that Amazon’s statement does not mean the end of Recognition, nor does it mean the final end of the sale to the federal government or immigration and customs enforcement. Whittacker said that while proposals to regulate or ban facial recognition have gained attention in Congress, nothing has happened yet.
After IBM announced earlier this week that it would no longer sell facial recognition or analysis software, human rights and digital rights groups are now calling on Microsoft to stop selling its facial recognition software to the police.