In a letter sent to Bezos and Amazon on Wednesday, Rep. Jimmy Gomez, a Democrat from California, is asking the company to provide specific details on its moratorium, like if the pause applies to federal law enforcement agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and if Amazon would stop developing facial recognition during that time.
"Corporations have been quick to share expressions of support for the Black Lives Matter movement following the public outrage over the murders of black Americans like George Floyd at the hands of police," Gomez said in the letter. "Unfortunately, too many of these gestures have been performative at best. Calling on Congress to regulate facial recognition technology is one of these gestures."
Gomez's letter includes questions on how Amazon is making sure its facial recognition tools aren't abused by law enforcement agencies, if the company has internal tests for racial and gender bias, if Rekognition is used with any police body cameras, and why the company is marketing its technology to ICE.
Lawmakers have also called out Amazon's Ring for its police partnerships allowing access to Ring's video doorbell footage. Those partnerships have expanded to more than 1,360 departments across the US. Following Amazon's moratorium on Rekognition, activist groups and members of Congress also demanded the company end its Ring police network.
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"That means also making wholesale changes to its Amazon Ring products and Neighbors app because the policies governing those offerings are an open door for privacy and civil liberty violations," said Sen. Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, in a statement on June 11.