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Amazon Slaps 1-Year Moratorium on Police Use of Facial Recognition Tech

Amid ongoing nationwide protests of police brutality, Amazon today announced a one-year moratorium on police use of Amazon's facial recognition technology, Amazon Rekognition. Other organizations will still be allowed to use it.

That service helps users automate image and video analysis with machine learning technology. Its site says Rekognition "also provides highly accurate facial analysis and facial search capabilities that you can use to detect, analyze, and compare faces for a wide variety of user verification, people counting, and public safety use cases."

As numerous media outlets have reported, including The Washington Post and Business Insider, many police departments use the technology.

In a short blog post today (June 10), Amazon announced the police moratorium, without mentioning the ongoing protests sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd, which resulted in four Minneapolis police officers being arrested.

"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," Amazon said.

"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."

Two days before today's post, Congressional Democrats unveiled police reform legislation.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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