Amazon may stop selling Facial Recognition Technology to Governments

This time last year, Amazon drew the ire of the ACLU and concerned citizens across the country when it became apparent it was selling facial recognition technology to law enforcement. It wasn’t long before shareholders raised concerns with CEO Jeff Bezos about the controversial technology. It is now being reported that Amazon shareholders will vote on a proposal to ban the sale of facial recognition technology to governments this month. The vote comes after it beat out Amazon’s request to quash the proposal before it made it to the voting phase, Gizmodo says.

In April, industry and academic AI researchers crafted a letter to Amazon, urging the company to stop selling ‘Rekognition’, its facial recognition solution, to law enforcement. The letter claims that Rekognition’s error rates are high, especially when identifying dark skinned people and females. Additionally, an ACLU study found that the technology “falsely matched 28 members of Congress to mugshot photos,” with all of the false matches touching people of varying skin colors, especially people of color, Gizmodo says.

“Shareholders request that the Board of Directors prohibit sales of facial recognition technology to government agencies unless the Board concludes, after an evaluation using independent evidence, that the technology does not cause or contribute to actual or potential violations of civil and human rights,” the shareholder proposal reads