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Amazon pauses police use of its facial recognition for year

Civil rights groups and Amazon's own employees have pushed the company to stop selling its technology to government agencies.

NEW YORK — Editor's note: The video above is from November 2019.

Amazon said Wednesday that it will pause police use of its facial recognition technology for a year.

The Seattle-based company did not say why it was doing so, but protests after the death of George Floyd have focused attention on racial injustice in the U.S. and how police use technology to track people. Floyd died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into the handcuffed black man’s neck for several minutes even after Floyd stopped moving and pleading for air.

Amazon's announcement comes a day after IBM said it would get out of the facial recognition business, concerned about how the technology can be used for mass surveillance and racial profiling.

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Civil rights groups and Amazon's own employees have pushed the company to stop selling its technology to government agencies, saying that it could be used to invade people’s privacy and target minorities.

Amazon said it will still allow organizations, like the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children, to use the technology.