Amazon extends ban on police use of its facial recognition software

Two years ago, reports revealed that Amazon was making facial recognition software available for use by law enforcement agencies, despite questions about bias, privacy, and potentially life-destroying errors that could arise from it. A year ago Amazon announced a year-long moratorium on the use of its Rekognition platform, and now Reuters reports that Amazon has extended the ban “until further notice” instead of letting the ban expire.

In a statement, ACLU Assistant Director Nathan Wessler said, “Facial recognition technology is fueling over-policing of the black and brown communities and has already resulted in the false arrests and illegitimate detentions of several black men. We are glad that Amazon is extending its moratorium on those Law enforcement agencies using the company’s facial recognition technology. Now, the Biden administration and legislation across the country must continue to protect communities from the dangers of the technology by completely ending its use by law enforcement agencies, regardless of which company is selling it.

As he cited, facial recognition has already led to multiple cases where police arrested the wrong person while federal lawmakers proposed regulation without actually enacting one.

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