Technology company Amazon has banned the use of its controversial face recognition software by the police for a year.
The decision follows concerns by civil rights advocates about racial bias in the use of the technology.
The same week, IBM also said it would stop providing its software for “large-scale surveillance or racially motivated data collection.”
The companies have been under increasing pressure since George Floyd’s recent death in police custody in the United States.
Amazon says banning the use of the software by law enforcement means giving US lawmakers the opportunity to legislate to control the use of the technology.
Amazon said in a recent statement: “We have asked governments to make strict regulations to ensure the ethical use of this face recognition technology, and it appears that Congress is now ready to meet this challenge.” Ready for
We hope that after this one-year ban, Congress will have ample time to enact appropriate legislation and we are ready to help if Congress wants. ”
However, the company has said it will continue to allow human trafficking organizations to use the technology.
Like other facial recognition products, Amazon ‘Recognition’ technology can quickly compare images using artificial intelligence (AI).
For example, the technology can compare a photo taken by a police officer with a phone camera to hundreds of thousands of photos of criminals in a police database.
Face recognition technology has long been criticized for its alleged bias, and several studies have found that it misrepresents the faces of blacks and other minorities compared to whites. More likely to be identified.
The death of George Floyd in police custody has rekindled those concerns, and questions are being raised about police strategy and the use of this technology for law enforcement.
In a letter to the Congress, IBM chief executive Arvind Krishna said, “The fight against racism is very important and necessary.”
He pointed out three areas where the company wants to work with Congress. These include police reform, responsible use of technology, and staff training and education.
In recent months, Congress has been considering the possibility of imposing regulations on the use of technology as lawmakers, companies, and civil rights activists have called for tougher restrictions on surveillance software.
Democrats in the House on Monday introduced a police reform law that would ban the use of technology by federal law enforcement agencies for face recognition, but some activists say the measures are not enough.
The American Civil Liberties Union said cameras on police officers’ bodies should be banned from recognizing faces, and that federal funding should be reduced for local law enforcement agencies that do not restrict the use of technology.