Amazon joins Microsoft in calling for regulation of facial recognition tech

10 Février, 2019, 16:33 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Amazon Supports Facial Recognition Legislation

"We support the calls for an appropriate national legislative framework that protects individual civil rights and ensures that governments are transparent in their use of facial recognition technology".

Michael Punke, Amazon Web Services' vice president of global public policy, suggested in a blog post Thursday guidelines for potential legislation or rules around facial recognition software.

For months now, the company has been defending its own system, known as Rekognition, over claims it'll one day enable mass surveillance. The technology shouldn't be used to make fully automated and final decisions when used in law enforcement, he said, and should instead require a human to review the results.

"The time for action has arrived", Smith wrote, adding that the industry must also exercise restraint while using this technology.

Last July, Microsoft called for USA lawmakers to rein in facial-recognition technologies before they can abused.

The company produced a five-point plan to responsibly regulate the technology when it comes to law enforcement. The Seattle-based tech giant also would not say if the videos are processed by its Rekognition facial recognition technology, if a seller can remove video proof of identity from Amazon's servers, and whether or not it has updated its seller agreements and privacy policies to address the collection and storage of biometric data.

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‪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. "We encourage policymakers to consider these guidelines as potential legislation and rules are considered in the United States and other countries". Punke writes that facial recognition matches should not be the sole determinant for making arrests or identifying persons of interest in a criminal investigation. He maintains that Amazon's company's own product is highly accurate.

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

Amazon is trying to cut down on multiple seller profiles, a problem linked to fake sellers and counterfeit goods, and prompted the user to take a video with his webcam, without an option to decline.

In less controversial settings, facial recognition tech is also used to unlock Apple iPhones using the Face ID feature and to check travelers' identities at government kiosks at United States airports.

"Amazon's framework rings woefully hollow, underscores the company's refusal to properly address the dangers of its technology in government hands, and reinforces the urgent need for Amazon to get out of the surveillance business altogether", said ACLU senior legislative counsel Neema Singh Guliani in an email.

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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