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Lawmakers still seeking details on Amazon's facial recognition software

By Cal Jeffrey · 8 replies
Nov 30, 2018
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  1. Rekognition came under scrutiny when it was reported that it misidentified 28 Congressmen as criminals back in July. It is worth mentioning that the ACLU performed the test and did not publish its methodology. However, those on Capitol Hill took note and immediately drafted two letters — one from the House of Representatives and one from the Senate.

    Both letters asked Amazon for more information regarding the facial recognition software. While Amazon did respond to the inquiries, Congress was apparently not satisfied with some of its answers.

    On Thursday, Senator Ed Markey and Representatives Luis Gutiérrez, Jimmy Gomez, Jan Schakowsky, Pramila Jayapal, Ro Khanna, Judy Chu, and John Lewis penned a third letter to Bezos reiterating questions that they felt were being avoided.

    "Regrettably, despite asking you a series of questions on this subject and requesting specific information in letters sent to you on July 26, 2018 and July 27, 2018, your company has failed to provide sufficient answers."

    Specifically, the lawmakers want to know if Amazon has conducted any bias assessments of the software and the results of those tests. They seek to learn whether the system seems to give more positive results based on race, gender, ethnicity, or age.

    Congress is also concerned if the system is collecting and storing biometric information. It asks if Rekognition has any built-in algorithms that automatically delete unused bio-data.

    They would like Amazon to account for any audits that it may perform to ensure that the software is not being misused by law enforcement. The representatives are particularly concerned about whether it is being used in violation of citizens civil rights. In other words, is it being used in violation of the Fourth Amendment?

    Finally, the lawmakers ask if Rekognition is currently being integrated into LEO body cams or other “continual, real-time, public-facing” surveillance measures and if so, what agencies are performing such monitoring. Again, this could violate citizens Fourth Amendment protections.

    Congress requests Amazon responds by December 13 giving Bezo two weeks to draft a reply.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,142   +3,563

    The term "Bench Warrant" should be easy enough to apply. Send the FBI out to pick him up, interview him, then deliver him to Congress for a detailed hearing ......
  3. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,618   +2,353

    While their at it the G-Men can serve a warrant for themselves, since their using the exact same kind of tech. And the way they use it has NEVER been revealed to the public. Repeated FOIA requests have been ignored and the answer is always the same: national security, FISA, yada-yada. Secret laws and secret courts do NOT a democracy make.
    Reehahs likes this.
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 5,142   +3,563

    Rummor is they might have problems serving Bezos, especially since he has such a close resemblance to Elmer Fudd, which might confuse that facial software .......
  5. Eldritch

    Eldritch TS Addict Posts: 116   +108

    Corporations doing this kind of deep recognition and biometric accumulation is a huge security and privacy threat. Amazon is a company that just days ago asked Spanish police to enforce productivity of its workers. Yep, they wanted police to basically monitor and force people to work. This is downright evil behaviour and 'people are our slaves' mentality.
    Amazon is hated by workers across the continents and the stories of suicides, depression and pressure so immense that workers urinate in bittles to save time are very real as they are repeated across regions. And this company is storing our personal details and even bio-metric data.....
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
    Theinsanegamer likes this.
  6. "Rekognition came under scrutiny when it was reported that it misidentified 28 Congressmen as criminals back in July."
    Either they tested the wrong Congressmen or the 28 actually are criminals hence the scrutiny....
    Reehahs and Cal Jeffrey like this.
  7. godrilla

    godrilla TS Enthusiast Posts: 70   +37

    Big government vs ultra monopolistic corporations the problem is when they work together!
    Check out the series Contium on Netflix what happens to such a society in the end.
  8. cuerdc

    cuerdc TS Booster Posts: 177   +41

    Misidentified or was it right, and worried works too well.
  9. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 1,516   +1,719

    Amazon is a perfect example of how these modern silicon valley companies are more ruthless and evil then any old corporation they are trying to replace. Amazon is worse then walmart by a country mile.

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