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Governments are called to put in place stronger regulations to govern the ethical use of facial recognition technology. Amazon has reportedly extended a ban on US law enforcement using Rekognition face search technology until further notice. The company’s one-year ban on US police being permitted to use the facial recognition technology solution would continue to stand. 

The previous one-year moratorium, announced in June 2020, was designed to give Congress time to debate and pass “appropriate rules” for the ethical use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement agencies. However, despite a handful of federal-level proposals being put on the table, none have been passed. 

According to zdnet.com, Amazon’s moratorium will now be in place “indefinitely” until lawmakers addressed issues raised surrounding the use of Rekognition to identify potential suspects in criminal cases. 

Rekognition is image and video analysis software that leverages deep learning. Amazon describes the facial recognition aspect of the software as “highly accurate facial analysis and facial search capabilities that you can use to detect, analyze, and compare faces for a wide variety of user verification, people counting, and public safety use cases.”

For example, law enforcement departments could submit an image of a suspect and search for a match with databases containing mugshots or other identification records. 

Previously, access to Rekognition was sold to law enforcement agencies. However, there are concerns relating to privacy, ethical use, accuracy, racial discrimination and the technology potentially playing a part in false convictions and injustice when it comes to facial recognition technologies.

IBM and Microsoft are additional providers of such solutions that have tried to distance themselves from law enforcement clientele.