The authors behind a recent study that found evidence of racial bias in Amazon's facial recognition system also question why the company isn't doing more to ensure safe use of its own product. In that time it has become a poster child for the controversies surrounding the tech because it provides Rekognition to some law enforcement agencies in the US.
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.
AWS VP of Global Public Policy Michael Punke writes that the company has demonstrated how its Rekognition service was improperly used in each of a series of controversial tests by third parties, and shown the accuracy and impartiality of the technology with re-creations of those tests.More news: Tony Blair steps up warnings on 'irresponsible' no-deal Brexit
In cases where AI is used to identify people for investigative purposes, he said the confidence threshhold should be set to 99 percent.
Speaking of the benefits of the technology, the Microsoft President mentioned that police in New Delhi recently trialed facial recognition technology and identified nearly 3,000 missing children in four days.
All use of facial recognition should comply with existing laws and civil rights.
In Thursday's blog post, Punke said the company came up with a legislative outline after discussing facial recognition with customers, researchers and policymakers over several months.More news: Tetris Effect Limited Demo Returns this Weekend Only
Microsoft President Brad Smith has shot down calls to stop selling facial recognition software to government agencies, saying the move would be "cruel" as it could hamper good work such as diagnosing rare diseases. Academics, civil rights advocates, and even the company's investors are concerned the technology will make mistakes and discriminate against people of color. The Seattle-based tech giant also would not say if the videos are processed by its Rekognition facial recognition technology, if a seller can remove video proof of identity from Amazon's servers, and whether or not it has updated its seller agreements and privacy policies to address the collection and storage of biometric data.
"When facial recognition technology is used in law enforcement, human review is a necessary component to ensure that the use of a prediction to make a decision does not violate civil rights".
"Our view is that facial recognition technology and video/photo surveillance should be covered by the same notice framework", Punke noted.
"Amazon's framework rings woefully hollow, underscores the company's refusal to properly address the dangers of its technology in government hands, and reinforces the urgent need for Amazon to get out of the surveillance business altogether", said ACLU senior legislative counsel Neema Singh Guliani in an email.More news: Missouri leak prompts closure of parts of TransCanada, Enbridge pipelines