After recently stating support for the Black Lives Matter movement, Amazon received criticism over its ties with police forces. Previously, the company sold its artificial intelligence software Rekognition to law enforcement which they use in conjunction with police body cameras.
The backlash from human rights groups described Rekognition as a “powerful surveillance system” that could potentially “violate rights and target communities of color.”
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez spoke through Twitter about the issue, explaining that facial recognitions systems fuel racial profiling. “It regularly falsely [identifies] Black and Brown people as criminal,” she explained.
In its blog, Amazon announced that it would halt police force use of Rekognition, following IBM’s move to end its development of facial recognition software permanently. The tech giant hopes that the one-year moratorium will allow Congress enough time to enforce better laws that promote protection for all.
“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,” Amazon said.