USA: Amazon’s facial recognition scandal

May 31, 2018
Vote on Hacker News
etats-unis-reconnaissance-faciale-scandale
In the United States, a civil right organization worries about the use of Amazon’s facial recognition tool. Neither authorities nor Amazon have officially responded.
 
It can tell faces and text from a video at considerable speed. It can identify, follow and analyze up to 100 individuals per image. It is the flagship of artificial intelligence and was developed by Amazon for various purposes. It is called Rekognition and the latest version boasts a 10% increase in identifications.
 

High-end artificial intelligence tool

 
Amazon has launched a marketing campaign to promote this prowess. However, some aspects raised eyebrows at ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), a non-governmental organization. Amazon provided the technology to the US government which allowed some states to use it.
 
ACLU decided to investigate how the authorities used Rekognition. The organization got documents from three different states showing a violation of civil liberties. The risk is to see it become a surveillance technology unrespectful of citizens’ privacy.
 

“Amazon’s Rekognition raises profound civil liberties and civil rights concerns”

 
“Amazon’s Rekognition raises profound civil liberties and civil rights concerns. Today, the ACLU and a coalition of civil rights organizations demanded that Amazon stop allowing governments to use Rekognition.” (blog post on May 22th, 2018)
 
No-one knows how the e-commerce giant will reply. Will it choose to reinforce its popularity by following the advice of a powerful civil organization? Or will it prefer to remain in the government’s good books? The latter could be a sound strategy considering Donald Trumps’ relentless attacks against Amazon.