Stop Selling Facial Recognition AI To Police, AI Experts Tell Amazon

Stop Selling Facial Recognition AI To Police, AI Experts Tell Amazon

Ciarán Daly

April 4, 2019

3 Min Read

SAN FRANCISCO - A number of prominent AI academics and engineers have signed an open letter demanding that Amazon halts all sales of Rekognition, its facial recognition API, to law enforcement agencies due to its alleged bias against women and ethnic minorities.

The letter, entitled 'On Recent Research Auditing Commercial Facial Analysis Technology' and released on Wednesday, is comprised of over 55 signatures at the time of writing. Pointing to a 2018 MIT study suggesting that Amazon's Rekognition had an error rate of 31% on the task of gender classification for women of colour, those signing called on government to regulate the technology.

"There are currently no laws in place to audit Rekognition's use, Amazon has not disclosed who the customers are, nor what the error rates are across different intersectional demographics," the letter states. "How can we then ensure that this tool is not improperly being used?"

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