Amazon faces probe over questionable facial recognition software
Eight Democratic lawmakers are demanding answers from Amazon regarding privacy concerns with the company’s facial recognition software that has been used by some local police departments.
The lawmakers said in a letter Thursday that Amazon had “failed to provide sufficient answers” to questions about the program, called Rekognition, that they had previously presented to the online retail giant.
“We have serious concerns that this type of product has significant accuracy issues, places disproportionate burdens on communities of color, and could stifle Americans’ willingness to exercise their First Amendment rights in public,” the lawmakers wrote.
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The letter demands transparency regarding Rekognition’s accuracy, biases and built-in “protections.”
The lawmakers who signed the letter are: Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass.; Rep. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif.; Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill.; Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Mich.; Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.; Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif.; Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif.; and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.
The inquiries were sparked by “recent revelations,” they said, suggesting Amazon could be “actively marketing this product to law enforcement entities, including the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement” without adequate precautions.
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