Amazon shareholders unanimously disagreed with the proposal that required them to stop selling its facial recognition to the governmental agencies. As per Friday’s regulatory filing, the service would require auditing with many people supporting it.
Among those who voted for the ban, 2.4 percent supported it. There was another proposal to study the extent of harm to civil rights and privacy of Amazon’s ” Rekognition” service caused. It got 27.5 percent of the votes.
The company’s sale has been criticized for its inaccurate responses like wrong matches and arrests. Concerns in the U.S have been raised following Amazon’s sale of its technology-based face recognition service to law enforcement in Oregon as well as in Florida.
Amazon has however refuted the claims and said that all users of its service should be law abiding.
The shareholders’ votes were doomed to fail since Amazon’s board would recommend on the contrary opinion. Moreover, Jeff Bezos the founder and Chief Executive of the company has 16 percent stock share as well as voting rights.
The votes that were to be considered were those that voted for, on the contrary, and those who abstained from the voting. Broker non-votes were not part of the total votes.
Facial recognition has been used in U.S. law enforcement for many years now. The service providers have always been compliant and that includes Idemia of France, Japan’s NEC Corp. Even the recent vendors like Microsoft Corp and Israel’s AnyVision have recently requested for regulation.
The U.S. Congress members are studying the effect of technology on the rights of people. The facial recognition has attracted a lot of suspicion and scrutiny. Researchers have concluded that the service is likely to promote racism as it identifies the gender of persons with dark complexion hence there is a possibility the wrong arrest can happen.
Shareholders have also requested to be allowed to convene a special meeting with 35.5 percent supporting the request. This comes just before the scheduled Amazon’s annual meeting which is set to be on Wednesday. There was a proposal demanding that the company explains its strategies for dealing with climate change and was voted for by 29.8 percent of the votes.