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Legislature requires Amazon response on face recognition technology

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By Jasmin Boyce

Eight Democratic Legislators require demanding responses from Amazon regarding privacy concerns with the company’s face recognition software that has been used by some local police departments. [1

9659007] The lawyers said in a letter on Thursday that Amazon had “failed to provide adequate answers” to questions about the program, called Recognition, which they had previously presented to the online giant trade.

“We are seriously concerned that this type of product has significant accuracy issues, places disproportionate burdens on color groups and can suffocate the Americans’ willingness to exercise their first change rights in public,” the legislators wrote.

The letter requires transparency in Recognition precision, bias and built-in “Protection”.

The legislators who signed the letter are: Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass .; Rope. Jimmy Gomez, D-Calif .; Rope. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill .; Rope. Jan Schakowsky, D-Mich .; Rope. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.; Rope. Ro Khanna, D-Calif .; Rope. Judy Chu, D-Calif .; and rep John Lewis, D-Ga.

The investigations were made of “recent revelations,” they say, and suggests that Amazon may be “actively promoting this product to law enforcement agencies, including US immigration and customs enforcement” without adequate precautions.

“According to reports, law enforcement officials have begun using cameras to collect raw video footage by permission and transfer data to Amazon face recognition analysts,” the legislators write.

“These pilot programs lack internal and external policy guidelines and initially were initiated without any practical training from Amazon for participating law enforcement officers,” they added.

Amazon shareholders, activist groups and the company’s own employees have all expressed concern about the recognition technology, referring to potential privacy threats.

Members of Congress sent a similar letter to Jeff Bezos, Amazonian CEO, in July, requesting greater transparency regarding Recognition. However, according to the legislators, Amazon did not provide an adequate response.

Law brokers asked Bezos to respond to their latest letter by December 13th.

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