Facial recognition technology for the use of police is banned by Amazon for a year

Amazon told on Wednesday that they are banning the use of facial recognition software by police for one year because the pressure on tech companies increases to respond the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis.

We encourage that the government should take necessary and stronger regulations to govern the right and proper use of facial recognition technology, also from past few days it seems like Congress is ready to take the challenge on this situation, this statement was given by Amazon. Amazon hopes that this one year moratorium period may give Congress enough time to implement appropriate rules, and they stand to help if requested.

House committee held a number of hearings to supervise and rectify the use of facial recognition technology, but yet to introduce bill regulating technology. In a phone interview conducted by CNBC Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Ca.., a committee member told that he is assured Congress will pass a bill this year. Rep. Gomez told that it’s a good first step, but it’s still not enough on Amazon’s announcement.

Amazon says that we have been asking Congress to put a safety rail on the use of this technology, but every time we try to get more data they stalled and therefore we, ha to have hearings to make a movement on the issue.

The committee has been searching for more information about the technology, and to whom Amazon sells it, said Gomez.

Amazon made the announcement after two days when IBM told that it was departing the recognition business of face, with CEO Arvind Krishna calling on Congress to enact reforms to advance racial; justice and systemic combat racism. On Monday Democratic lawmakers unveiled a sweeping policy reform bill, and on Wednesday the House Judiciary Committee held hearings on preventing police brutality.

On 25 May Floyd, a barehanded black man was killed with a video that shows the police officer knelt on his neck for the duration of almost nine minutes. In consequent days, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos speaks in favour of the black lives Matter movement and post-e-mail exchanges with customers unhappy with his position.

Recognition has been a topic of controversy for Amazon even before the latest spate of nationwide protests against the violence of police. The technology has been used by the agencies to enforce law and was pitched to Immigration the Customs Enforced in the U.S. Amazon Web Services was told in the past about the advanced technology is used by organizations that work with enforcement of law to advocate for victims of crime.

The only police department that AWS names on its website as a Rekognition customer is the Washington Country’s sheriff office in Oregon. The total number of police departments that used recognition was not disclosed by Amazon.

In 2016 AWS launched Rekognition, which was described in a short blog post as, services that makes it effortless to add image analysis to your applications and to detect objects, scenes and faces in images. Last year Amazon told that Rekognition is capable of detecting a person’s fear by identifying expressions and also is able to determine someone’s emotion.

Research has revealed that facial recognition software may hold racial and gender bias. In preceding years, the founder of Algorithmic Justice League Joy Buolamwini testified about the research in the subject for Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her findings helped in providing the basis of a shareholder vote that Amazon held last year, i.e. 2.4% of shareholders voting in favour of banning the sale of technology to government agencies.

Ring, the smart doorbell security company which is owned by Amazon has a partnership with more than 1,000 police departments across the U.S, according to a tracker on its website. This partnership allows police to request footage from Ring security cameras, which has high privacy concerns.

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