Amazon has announced a one-year moratorium on police use of its facial recognition software, Rekognition.
IBM previously announced it was ending the sale of general purpose facial recognition software in an effort to support civil rights and police reform. Now Amazon is following suit, banning police use of its own facial recognition software for one year.
Amazon’s statement, in its entirety, reads:
We’re implementing a one-year moratorium on police use of Amazon’s facial recognition technology. 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.
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.
When IBM announced its decision, we wrote: “In the wake of recent events, however, it’s likely IBM won’t be the only company to take such a stand.”
Amazon has proved that statement true, and it will likely not be the last company to do so.