Facial recognition software mislabels politicians as criminals

Amazon’s new facial recognition technology mistakes politicians for criminals


Politicians may sometimes have dubious reputations for a number of reasons but it’s not everyday that a politician gets ‘recognised’ as a an outlaw by facial recognition technology.

A facial recognition software known as ‘Rekognition’ which was developed by Amazon recently incorrectly identified 28 out of 435 members of congress as outlaws.

This was published in a research report by The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). ‘

Ironically of a significant number of those flagged, 39% were people of colour. Only 5% of white people were misidentified.

Amazon’s response to the study was that the university had used the software incorrectly as researchers at ACLU did not apply the recommended settings.

While Amazon recommends a 95 percent error-tolerance for law enforcement, ACLU had set this to 80 percent.
Amazon also emphasized that artificial intelligence results should always be corroborated by human eyes.

Currently there is no legislation with regards to facial recognition software in the United States which accounts for the reluctance of many people including developers to use it for government work.

The Congressional Black Caucus whose members were misidentified as criminals by ‘Rekognition’ have signed a petition highlighting its concern over Amazon’s plans to market and implement the technology.


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