Photo by — @bhurnal Bans Police From Using Rekognition

Two Days After IBM Suspended Facial Recognition Technology for a Year Does the Same

In the last month there has been an increasing unrest in the United States. The death of George Floyd that occurred on the 25th of May, 2020. This triggered a wave of protests in response now commonly known as the George Floyd protests.

“At least 200 cities imposed curfews by June 3, while at least more than 30 states and Washington, D.C, activated over 24,000 National Guard personnel due to the mass unrest.”

Amazon announced a one-year pause on allowing law enforcement to use its controversial Rekognition facial recognition platform. Amazon said so earlier this week:

“We are implementing a one-year moratorium on police use of Rekognition… We’ve advocated that governments should put in place stronger regulations to govern the ethical use of facial recognition technology”

The news comes after IBM announced it would take a one year break.

That means two large actors within artificial intelligence have taken a stance on facial recognition technology.

Amazon may not be entirely truthful about its argument of advocating ethical use of this technology. They tried to undermine the findings of Joy Buolamwini (who found racial bias in their algorithms).

“Amazon’s approach thus far has been one of denial, deflection, and delay. We cannot rely on Amazon to police itself or provide unregulated and unproven technology to police or government agencies.” (Joy Buolamwini)

An open letter was previously written saying Rekognition was flawed and should not be in the hands of law enforcement.

Therefore, this seems to be a good decision by Amazon to follow the good example set by IBM.

This is #500daysofAI and you are reading article 374. I am writing one new article about or related to artificial intelligence every day for 500 days. Towards day 400 I am writing about artificial intelligence and racial inequality.



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Alex Moltzau

Alex Moltzau


AI Policy and Ethics at Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own.