Amazon Extends Ban Facial Recognition Software for US Police

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The US police will have to do without the facial recognition software Rekognition from tech company Amazon. Amazon is suspending its use until further notice.


Amazon banned the police from using all of the software for one year in June last year. The company wanted to give politicians time to introduce rules for the use of such technology.

In the United States, following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, large-scale demonstrations against racism and police violence began. Activists feared the government would use facial recognition technology to profile people ethnically.

Critics are also concerned about the invasion of privacy when using the software. Rekognition is also said to have difficulty recognizing the gender of people with darker skin tones. Amazon contradicts that.

Amazon has long been a supporter of rules to guarantee the ethical use of such software. The company had also hoped that the US Congress would come up with legislation. This has not happened so far. The company said Rekognition may still be used by organizations tracking missing children and victims of human trafficking.

Rival Microsoft, which also has facial recognition software, said after Amazon’s announcement last June that it is awaiting national legislation before selling the software to US police.

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