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SEATTLE (dpa-AFX) – Amazon does not want to make its facial recognition software available to the police for a year. The group hoped that the US Congress could agree on a regulatory legal framework for the technology during this time, Amazon said on Thursday night. The software with the name “Rekognition” will continue to be made available, for example, to organizations looking for missing children who may have been victims of human traffickers.
At the beginning of the week, IBM announced that it would withdraw completely from the face recognition software business. The computer company said it did not want to allow technology to be used for mass surveillance, racial discrimination, or human rights violations, a letter to MPs said.
The online retailer emphasized that Amazon has campaigned for stronger government regulation for the ethical use of facial recognition technologies. The “Rekognition” software is developed by Amazon’s cloud subsidiary AWS. So far, Amazon has always defended its use by the police, even after researchers criticized after a series of tests that the program made more mistakes on faces with a skin color other than white. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had already spoken out in the autumn for regulating the technology.
Microsoft has been demanding this since 2018 – and is also a relevant supplier of facial recognition software. The American police department also has other alternatives. At the beginning of the year, Clearview caused a sensation, which simply put together a database of millions of publicly available photos from online services and, among other things, gives police authorities access to them. Google has been reluctant to offer facial recognition technology or make it publicly available for years. Some US cities, such as San Franciso, prohibited the use of facial recognition./hbr/DP/jha