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Amazon to continue pause on police use of facial recognition


PTI, May 19, 2021, 10:21 AM IST

New York: Amazon said Tuesday that it will continue to ban police use of its face-recognition technology beyond the one-year ban it announced last year.

Amazon and other technology companies have been under pressure from civil rights activists and their own workers to halt the sale of face-recognition technology to law enforcement agencies because they can incorrectly identify people with darker skin, which Amazon has denied. At least seven states already have enacted restrictions limiting government use of the technology and several others are debating bills.

Last June, Amazon announced that it would pause use of its facial recognition technology, which is called Rekognition, for a year. At the time there was a renewed focus on racial injustice in the US after the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white police offer pressed his knee against his neck. Microsoft and IBM also paused sales of their software to police around the same time last year.

Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc. didn’t say on Tuesday how long the ban would last or why it is continuing it beyond a year.

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