The decision was announced on Wednesday, June 10th.
Studies by the ACLU and MIT, over the past few years, showed facial recognition software misidentifies women and people of color more frequently than white men, leading to concerns that the technology will disproportionately impact communities that are already over-surveilled. The post did note that Amazon supports federal regulation of facial recognition technology, and that the company hopes the one-year moratorium "might give Congress enough time to implement appropriate rules". Last year, Amazon's cloud chief Andy Jassy said in an interview the company would provide Rekognition to "any" government department.
"The tech giant announced it would suspend the sale of its facial recognition software Rekognition to law enforcement for one year".
The ACLU is now demanding the company commit to an indefinite moratorium until federal legislation is passed.
Amazon said it will still allow organizations to use Rekognition for work tracking human trafficking victims and finding missing children.
AI experts and civil rights activists have been campaigning for Amazon to halt the sale of Rekognition to law enforcement for years.
Amazon did not immediately reply to a request for comment. The group highlighted Amazon's relationships with a sheriff's office in OR and the city of Orlando, two engagements Amazon had touted in marketing materials. The company has also said there have been no reported cases of law enforcement abuse of Rekognition, though Amazon's ability to audit the software's use is limited by AWS's encryption and policies against examining customer data. "We were able to index more than 300,000 photo records within 1-2 days, and the identification time of suspects went from 2-3 days down to minutes".
Civil rights groups and Amazon's own employees have pushed the company to stop selling its technology to government agencies, saying that it could be used to invade people's privacy and target minorities.
Adweek reached out to Amazon about Rekognition following news from IBM earlier this week in which CEO Arvind Krishna told members of Congress that IBM no longer offers its general objective facial recognition software because the company opposes its use for surveillance, racial profiling and violations of human rights.
IBM said in a letter to Congress on Monday that it is halting all its general goal facial recognition services. "The first step is to press pause". Almost 40% of the false matches were of people of color, the study said, even though they made up 20% of Congress at the time.
World Health Organization retracts claim on asymptomatic spread of Covid-19
She said: " Some estimates of around 40 percent of transmission may be due to asymptomatic (cases), but those are from models". Van Kerkhove had been clear about what she was saying and she's rather knowledgeable about this pandemic.