NEWS11 June 2020

Amazon bans police use of its facial recognition for a year

News North America Privacy Technology UK

US – Amazon has put in place a one-year moratorium on police forces using its facial recognition technology, Rekognition.

Amazon building

The move followed IBM saying it would no longer produce facial recognition or analysis software, citing concerns over how the technology is used by law enforcement agencies.

Technology companies have come under pressure to address the issue of police using facial recognition, which advocacy groups have said can have a disproportionate effect on people of colour.

Amazon said in a statement: “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.”

Amazon said it will continue to allow certain organisations to use the technology to help trafficking victims and locate missing children.

In January, the Information Commissioner’s Office called on the UK government to introduce a statutory code of practice for live facial recognition.

The Met Police launched a trial of live facial recognition technology in London earlier in the year.