Amazon Joins Microsoft's Call for Rules on Facial Recognition

In Washington County, Oregon, sheriff's deputies send photos of suspects to Amazon's cloud computing service.1 The ecommerce giant 's algorithms check these faces against a database of tens of thousands of mugshots, using Amazon' s Rekognition image analysis service.

Such use of facial recognition by law enforcement is essentially unregulated. But some of the technology want to change that. In a blog post Thursday, Amazon asked Congress to put some rules around the use of the technology, echoing to call by Microsoft in December. The announcements as amid growing scrutiny on the use and accuracy of facial recognition by researchers, lawmakers, and civil liberties groups.

In the post, Michael Punke, vice president of global public policy at Amazon's cloud division, AWS, wrote that the company "supports the creation of a national legislative framework covering facial recognition through video and photographic monitoring on public or commercial premises."

Amazon has been pressured by civil rights groups after tests by the academy and the ACLU found Two researchers reported in January that is an AWS service that aims to determine the gender of people in the world. In the collection of mugshots, when the ACLU tested is in the collection of mugshots. The false positives were disproportionately people of color.

Amazon has pushed back on those studies. Posted by admin at 1:01 AM 0 comments Email This BlogThis! Share to Twitter Share to Facebook Still, Amazon's Thursday blog post showed that the company appears to be there is cause for concern.

Amazon wants legislation "that protects individual civil rights and guarantees that governments are transparent in their use of facial recognition technology," Punke wrote. His post is a message to lawmakers, and informed by talks with customers, researchers, academics, and policymakers. Amazon declined to make Punish or anyone else available to discuss the proposals.

Amazon's call for federal action on facial recognition and echoes to December appeal by Microsoft President Brad Smith, who has been asked to regulate the technology to prevent invasions or new forms of discrimination. "We said that in the United States."
Some lawmakers want to take up the suggestion. Last November, eight Democratic members of Congress wrote to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos asking him about privacy protections built into Rekognition. A bill under consideration in Washington has been imposed on surveillance in the absence of warrants except in emergencies, while a bill proposed in Massachusetts would have implied a temporary moratorium on the technology until place. Amazon declined to comment on the proposed Washington state law. A member of San Francisco's board of supervisors

Neither Microsoft nor Amazon is risking much immediate revenue by seeking to use one of their products, says Clare Garvie, a fellow at Georgetown University's Privacy and Technology Center. Despite their prominence, Garvie says neither company is a major player in the market supplying US law enforcement or government agencies with facial recognition software.

IDEMIA, which helps with US passport applications, and NEC Corporation, which works on a Customs and Border Protection. An NEC spokesperson directed WIRED to a statement by president and CEO Takashi Niino, who said "welcomes this debate" about regulating facial recognition. IDEMIA did not respond to a request for comment.

Amazon's cloud division has shown interest in government contracts. It has won several large federal deals, including the CIA, and remains in the bidding for JEDI, a $ 10 billion Pentagon contract. At the WIRED25 conference last year, Bezos said tech companies should be proud of the US government and military. "I like this country," he said.

Amazon's post Thursday shows how the company has shifted its thinking on how law enforcement should use its technology. The blog post says that when the law enforcement agencies use facial recognition and the software is 99 percent confident.

However, in 2017, the United States was officially announced by the President of the United States. A year later, Amazon criticized the ACLU study in which members of congress were incorrectly matched with mugshots for using Amazon's system default of 80 percent. A day later, the company recommended at 99 percent threshold instead.

Last week, the Washington County sheriff's office told Gizmodo that it did not use any threshold when employing Amazon's service. Deputy Jeff Talbot says the office has been taking care of a safe design around its use of facial recognition. It does not set a threshold because it is designed to identify the suspects, he says. "He says." We are in the full support of building legislation to regulate the appropriate and responsible uses of the technology.

Garvie, the Georgetown fellow, says she's encouraged that the industry is seeking rules for law enforcement. But it says it is not clear if the shift is a heightened awareness of the technology's potential. "Garvie says," They can see that regulation is inevitable, or Garvie says.

Amazon's post suggests that the problem is needed, the problem is not urgent. It claims that the company's service has a "strong track record," and states that "in the two-plus years we've been offering, we have not received a single report of misuse by law enforcement."

Garvie says that's nonsensical given the lack of agreed guidelines. Georgetown research has many checks and balances, or audits, on their use of the technology. She says. "What does misuse mean?

ACLU senior legislative counsel Neema Singh Guliani cites suspect claim as a reason Amazon can not be trusted to work with law enforcement. She company has not been shown to be responsible for a potentially dangerous technology. "[This] reinforces the urgent need for Amazon to get out of the surveillance business altogether. "

1 CORRECTION, 10:50 PM: An earlier version of this story The Washington County sheriff uses a mobile app to send photos of suspects to Amazon's cloud computing service.


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