Amazon, Microsoft urge federal regulation for facial recognition technology: 5 notes

Jessica Kim Cohen - Print  | 

Technology giants are increasingly calling for regulation of facial recognition technologies, according to Wired.

Five notes:

1. There's a growing trend of law enforcement using facial recognition technology — for example, in Oregon's Washington County, sheriff's deputies can send photos of suspects to Amazon's cloud computing service, which checks the suspects' faces against a database of mugshots. The use of facial recognition by law enforcement is mostly unregulated.

2. Technology developers have pushed back against this trend amid scrutiny from researchers, lawmakers and civil liberties groups. Recent research has suggested Amazon's image analysis service — Rekognition — is less accurate for black people, although the e-commerce giant has disputed these claims.

3. Michael Punke, vice president of global public policy at Amazon Web Services, wrote in a blog post that the company "supports the creation of a national legislative framework covering facial recognition through video and photographic monitoring on public or commercial premises," including legislation that "protects individual civil rights and ensures that governments are transparent in their use of facial recognition technology."

4. Amazon's move echos another call to action Microsoft made in December, according to Wired. In late 2018, Microsoft President Brad Smith urged the federal government to regulate the technology to curb issues related to privacy and discrimination, stating that the company believes "the only way to protect against this race to the bottom is to build a floor of responsibility that supports healthy market competition."

5. Neither Amazon nor Microsoft are major suppliers of facial recognition technology to law enforcement and government agencies, according to academic sources who spoke with Wired, making their calls for regulation unlikely to affect their revenue.

To read the article on Wired, click here.

More articles on artificial intelligence:
Northwell Health adds AI for readmissions to its EMR
IBM to invest $2B into AI hardware efforts in New York: 3 notes
11 AI policy considerations, according to the Connected Health Initiative

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