George Floyd: Amazon bans police use of facial recognition tech

(BBC) – Technology giant Amazon has banned the police from using its controversial facial recognition software for a year.

It comes after civil rights advocates raised concerns about potential racial bias in surveillance technology.

This week IBM also said it would stop offering its facial recognition software for “mass surveillance or racial profiling”.

The decisions follow growing pressure on firms to respond to the death in police custody of George Floyd.

Amazon said the suspension of law enforcement use of its Rekognition software was to give US lawmakers the opportunity to enact legislation to regulate how the technology is employed.

“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,” Amazon said in a statement.

“We hope this one-year moratorium might give Congress enough time to implement appropriate rules, and we stand ready to help if requested.”

However, the company said that it would still allow organisations that deal with human trafficking to use the technology.