Amazon Bans Its Facial Recognition Software for One Year

Amazon Bans Its Facial Recognition Software for One Year

Amazon banned police officers from using its software for facial recognition for a year. Furthermore, Amazon said that it hopes that this period will give Congress enough time to come up with rules for using the technology.

Protests have continued against police brutality after the cop-related killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day. In response, on Wednesday, the tech and online retailing giant announced this in a blog post.

The only law enforcement agency named as using the Amazon website’s software is in Oregon, the Washington Country Sheriff Office.

When reached out to ask how many agencies use the software and for these agencies’ names, the Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment any further.

In the blog post, Amazon said that it is implementing a one-year moratorium on police use of the facial recognition technology from Amazon.

Furthermore, Amazon said that it would continue to allow organizations working to help reunite missing children and rescue human trafficking victims.

Marinus Analytics, the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and Thorn, where explicitly mentioned.

Amazon noted in this announcement that it advocated for governments to have stronger regulations. Those regulations related to facial recognition technology. It said that Congress appears ready to take on those challenges in recent days.

Moreover, Amazon hopes that this moratorium period, one-year in length, may give Congress enough time to implement some appropriate rules. The company added that they stand ready to help if requested.

As protests related to police brutality have continued, Amazon’s decision came through. In Minneapolis, during an arrest, police killed a 46-year-old black father of two, George Floyd.

Amazon’s next steps

He was alleged to have passed a $20 counterfeit bill for buying cigarettes. Following this, Derek Chauvin, an Officer, pressed down on his neck with his knee for almost 9 minutes. This act caused his death.


Republican Jimmy Gomez, D-Ca., serves on the House Committee on oversight and reform. Moreover, he held hearings on the use of artificial recognition technology. Gomez told CNBC that he hopes a bill will pass before the end of the year.

In response to Amazon’s moratorium on the use of Recognition, Gomez said he believes it is an excellent first step. Nevertheless, it is still not enough.

On Monday, IBM chose to get out of the facial recognition business entirely. It is concerned about how technology can be used for racial profiling and mass surveillance.

The George Floyd protests called for a closer look at the use of police technology. Some may use this technology to monitor American neighborhoods and track demonstrators.

IBM had earlier sought to improve the accuracy of its face-scanning software. This was after research found gender and racial disparities.

The firm is now saying that it will stop offering any software providing facial recognition. Moreover, this means that it opposes any use of such technology for the purposes of racial profiling and mass surveillance.

Arvind Krishna is the chief executive officer of IBM. In a letter to Congress, he demanded new efforts to pursue racial equity and justice.

Let us see how this story will continue.

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