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Amazon Bans Police Use of Their Facial Recognition Technology for One Year

Studies have suggested that Rekognition less accurately recognized dark-skinned faces.

Amazon announced this week that they would be implementing a one-year moratorium on police use of Rekognition, a facial recognition software.

Launched in 2016, Rekognition has been sold to a number of government agencies, including various police departments and ICE. In 2017, it started being used by law enforcement for help identifying suspects.

But studies have shown that Rekognition is less accurate in recognizing dark-skinned faces, and the software has come under fire for propagating racism that's already relevant in the police force.

Black people are already mistaken for suspects at alarming rates, and the use of Rekognition in law enforcement poses extreme dangers for them. In a statement on their blog, Amazon stated that they've advocated for stronger regulations on facial recognition technology, however the company has sold Rekognition to various police departments in the past.

Read their statement below.

"We're implementing a one-year moratorium on police use of Amazon's facial recognition technology. We will continue to allow organizations like Thorn, the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Marinus Analytics to use Amazon Rekognition to help rescue human trafficking victims and reunite missing children with their families.

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. We hope this one-year moratorium might give Congress enough time to implement appropriate rules, and we stand ready to help if requested."

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