SEATTLE—Suspending the service subscribed to by more than 1,350 police departments nationwide, Amazon announced this week it would halt use of its facial recognition software by law enforcement until the company could perfect its “Other Faces You Might Be Interested In” feature. “We have chosen to place a one-year moratorium on police access to our Rekognition platform so we can work on the function that suggests new suspects based on how similar their faces are to other people an officer has detained,” said CEO Jeff Bezos, who explained that the product did not currently meet Amazon’s efficacy standards when providing police with a list of individuals inspired by the neighborhoods in which a department typically makes its arrests. “Rest assured, we have many talented coders hard at work sequencing the faces of individuals law enforcement may wish to apprehend because they have certain visible indicators in common with the current prison population. This decision to pause access comes after several glitches were reported, including one that somehow allowed police officers themselves to be included among the list of suggested faces.” At press time, Amazon had reportedly offered as a concession free same-day shipping on any evidence police forces might need to plant until the issue was resolved.
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