Published: Sun, February 10, 2019
Economy | By

Even Amazon wants face recognition regulated

Even Amazon wants face recognition regulated

Government oversight: In a blog post today, Michael Punke, Amazon's vice president of global policy, defended the reliability of the company's technology, but he also said: "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".

The company also offered its support for the development of independent standards for facial recognition by organizations like the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

"We understand why people want there to be oversight and guidelines put in place to make sure facial recognition technology can not be used to discriminate", he wrote. His comments follow repeated calls by fellow tech giant Microsoft, which also develops facial recognition tech, to create legislation for the software. Then in December, Google said it was holding off on selling a general-purpose facial-recognition system until "important technology and policy questions" had been addressed.

"We understand why people want there to be oversight and guidelines put in place to make sure facial recognition technology can not be used to discriminate". Oddly (or maybe not so much), his ideas have less to do with the regulation of Rekognition and more to do with micromanaging law enforcement. "We encourage policymakers to consider these guidelines as potential legislation and rules are considered in the USA and other countries".

Punke stressed the benefits of facial-recognitions systems, like finding missing children and identifying suspects in crimes.

"Amazon should make it crystal clear they are not exploiting this sensitive face data to, for example, enrich the face surveillance product that a coalition of 90 groups just demanded the company stop providing to governments", Cagle says.


"You may have read about some of the tests of Amazon Rekognition by outside groups attempting to show how the service could be used to discriminate".

Punke, however, said new technology should not be banned or condemned because of its potential misuse. "Instead, there should be open, honest, and earnest dialogue among all parties involved to ensure that the technology is applied appropriately", Punke wrote here on Thursday.

Amazon declined to explain why or when it began asking some sellers for video proof of identity, in what regions it requests that proof, and what it does with the seller videos it records.

"It's critical that any legislation protect civil rights while also allowing for continued innovation and practical application of the technology..."

In response to Amazon's post, Neema Singh Guliani, ACLU's senior legislative counsel, disputed several of Amazon's claims. Meanwhile, in the absence of federal rules, lawmakers in Amazon's home state of Washington are considering their own bill to regulate facial recognition use.

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