Amazon Halts Police Use of Its Facial Recognition Technology

Critics say Amazon's biometrics tool displays racial bias when identifying people of color. Now Amazon is taking it from police hands.

    2020/06/11

NSFW    SEATTLE — Amazon announced that it will ban police use of the company's facial recognition tool Rekognition for a year, in a blogpost dated Wednesday.

Earlier this year, an Amazon executive told PBS that not even Amazon knows the exact number of police departments that utilize Rekognition.

According to a 2018 study by MIT Media Lab, facial recognition tools were more prone to errors when identifying people of color, and products from major tech corporations misgendered dark-skinned women 35 percent of the time.

A 2019 study by the same institution further states that Amazon's Rekognition mislabelled women of color as men 31 percent of the time, while Microsoft's technology made the error only 1.5 percent of the time.

Citing a statement from Clearview AI, The Verge reports that Amazon, Google and IBM have exited the law enforcement facial recognition market, which left the field to Clearview. In the statement, Clearview asserts that its product "actually works."
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