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Amazon Pauses Police Use of Its Facial Recognition Software


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Civil liberties advocates began calling for a ban on the use of facial recognition by law enforcement in 2018.

Amazon said on Wednesday it was putting a one-year pause on letting the police use its facial recognition tool.

Credit: Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

Amazon said on Wednesday that it was putting a one-year pause on letting the police use its facial recognition tool, in a major sign of the growing concerns that the technology may lead to unfair treatment of African-Americans.

The technology giant did not explain its reasoning in its brief blog post about the change, but the move came amid the nationwide protests over racism and biased policing. Amazon's technology had been criticized in the past for misidentifying people of color.

In its blog post, the company said it hoped the moratorium on its service, Rekognition, "might give Congress enough time to put in place appropriate rules" for the ethical use of facial recognition.

The announcement was a striking change for Amazon, a prominent supplier of facial recognition software to law enforcement. More than other big technology companies, Amazon has resisted calls to slow its deployment. In the past, Amazon had said its tools were accurate but were improperly used by researchers.

 

From The New York Times
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