Even Amazon wants face recognition regulated

UPS CEO There's more to e-commerce than Amazon

Amazon has said it supports "transparency" in the use of face recognition by law enforcement agencies and would support an "appropriate" legislative framework governing the technology to protect civil rights.

AWS VP of Global Public Policy Michael Punke writes that the company has demonstrated how its Rekognition service was improperly used in each of a series of controversial tests by third parties, and shown the accuracy and impartiality of the technology with re-creations of those tests.

Why it matters: Amazon is playing defense as civil rights activists and lawmakers sound the alarm over facial recognition technology.

"When facial recognition technology is used in law enforcement, human review is a necessary component to ensure that the use of a prediction to make a decision does not violate civil rights".

The company produced a five-point plan to responsibly regulate the technology when it comes to law enforcement.

In his blog post, Punke said that AWS is engaging with various groups to develop standards for testing the technology.

‪The groups cited use of Rekognition by law enforcement in OR and Florida and warned that the tool could be used to target immigrants and people of color unfairly.

Now there are no federal rules regarding the use of facial recognition technology which is why Washington lawmakers are considering creating their own bill to regulate its use. "We encourage policymakers to consider these guidelines as potential legislation and rules are considered in the United States and other countries", he said.

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Punke stressed the benefits of facial-recognitions systems, like finding missing children and identifying suspects in crimes.

"Amazon should make it crystal clear they are not exploiting this sensitive face data to, for example, enrich the face surveillance product that a coalition of 90 groups just demanded the company stop providing to governments". "In each case, we've demonstrated that the service was not used properly", he argued.

He said new technology "should not be banned or condemned because of its potential misuse".

Amazon declined to explain why or when it began asking some sellers for video proof of identity, in what regions it requests that proof, and what it does with the seller videos it records.

Understandably, the Seattle based tech giant was grilled by newspersons aware of the development but the company refused to share any information or offer any explanation whatsoever.

"Researchers successfully used facial recognition software to diagnose a rare, genetic disease in Africans, Asians and Latin Americans", he added.

In response to Amazon's post, Neema Singh Guliani, ACLU's senior legislative counsel, disputed several of Amazon's claims.

As criticism over its facial recognition system Rekognition has grown among lawmakers and consumers alike, Amazon has come out in favor of legislating the technology and has even proposed guidelines on how to do so.

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