Amazon is one of the leading global vendors of facial recognition software - technology that takes images of your face and uses algorithms to match it to faces in a database.
Amazon’s ‘Rekognition’ software is hugely controversial, and AI researchers have previously called for them to stop selling it to police after multiple tests showed that the technology disproportionately misidentify people of color, and even incorrectly matched photos of 28 members of Congress to police mugshots.5 These biases in the software mean that people of color are more likely to be the victims of harassment, wrongful arrest or worse.
Last year, a shareholder proposal asking Amazon to carry out an independent human rights assessment of its facial recognition technology was voted down alongside proposals to stop selling the software to government customers.6
While Amazon sells this technology to police departments all over the country, they claim to have no record of how many departments are using it - and use of this dangerous and controversial technology is not regulated by the U.S. government.7
Amazon has recently been posting on social media claiming to stand in solidarity with the Black community - but has then ignored replies asking them to make good on this statement by stopping sales of biased and dangerous facial recognition software to police departments. Let’s make sure they can’t ignore this message any longer.