Conduct due diligence, audit or risk/impact assessment
- Digital rights
- Human rights
Type of vote
Company HQ country
RESOLVED: Shareholders request the Board of Directors commission an independent study of Rekognition and report to shareholders regarding:
The extent to which such technology may endanger, threaten or violate privacy and/ or civil rights, and unfairly or disproportionately target or surveil people of color, immigrants and activists in the US;The extent to which such technologies may be marketed and sold to authoritarian or repressive governments, including those identified by the US Department of State Country Reports on Human Rights Practices;The potential loss of goodwill and other financial risks associated with these human rights issues;The report should be produced at reasonable expense, exclude proprietary or legally privileged information, published no later than September 1st, 2023.
Amazon markets and sells facial recognition ("Rekognition”) to government that may pose significant financial risks due to privacy and human rights implications;
Human and civil rights organizations are concerned facial surveillance technology may violate civil rights by unfairly and disproportionately targeting and surveilling people of color, immigrants and civil society organizations;
Nearly 70 organizations asked Amazon to stop selling Rekognition, citing its role enabling “government surveillance infrastructure”;
The ACLU found Rekognition incorrectly identified 28 Congressional members as having been arrested for a crime, and falsely matched 1 in 5 California lawmakers. Research shows Rekognition is worse at identifying black women than white men and misgenders nonbinary people;
Reports indicate restricting facial recognition is a rising trend:
Multiple cities and states have banned government facial technology. In 2022, the Facial Recognition Ban on Body Cameras Act was reintroduced in Congress.UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged a moratorium on Artificial Intelligence (AI) until adequate safeguards exist, calling for a ban on AI inconsistent with international human rights law.There is little evidence our Board of Directors, as part of its fiduciary oversight, has rigorously assessed risks to Amazon’s financial performance, reputation and shareholder value associated with privacy and human rights threats to all stakeholders;
For 4 years, similar Amazon proposals have received increasing shareholder support – in 2022, it received 40.69 per cent support.
Responding to the growing movement against police brutality and criminal justice bias, Amazon issued an indefinite moratorium on Rekognition used by police departments.
While this acknowledges risks, it is unclear whether it includes other government agencies. In 2021, the Government Accountability Office found 19 of 24 US government agencies surveyed were using facial recognition.
Microsoft banned face recognition sales to police awaiting federal regulation, then announced the removal of features from its AI service to ensure facial recognition technology meets ethical guidelines, while IBM stopped offering the software. Following a
$550 million settlement from a lawsuit alleging nonconsensual use of facial recognition, Facebook ceased using facial recognition.
 OHCHR | Artificial intelligence risks to privacy demand urgent action – Bachelet
 Facial Recognition Technology: Current and Planned Uses by Federal Agencies | U.S. GAO