Amazon has banned police from using its controversial facial-recognition technology for a year amid ongoing nationwide protests over police brutality and racial profiling.
The announcement was made by the tech giant in a brief statement on its corporate blog.
However, it never mentioned the protests or the recent death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Though, Amazon indicated that the decision was taken in the wake of recent events.
“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,” the company wrote.
“We hope this one-year moratorium might give Congress enough time to implement appropriate rules, and we stand ready to help if requested.”
Facial-recognition technology has emerged as a key battleground for tech giants competing for business from customers eager to use the latest tools of artificial intelligence.
The technology can help identify people and is important for such services that include unlocking smartphones and tagging friends in photos on social media.
This particular tech has raised privacy and bias concerns as it has taken on a new and controversial life in law enforcement and other areas.
Rekognition is a tool offered by Amazon Web Services, the company’s profitable cloud computing arm. It is relatively cheap and simple to use.
The took can take grainy photos from a security camera or elsewhere and run them against thousands of photos to find a potential match like a police department’s database of mug shots.