AWS Offers Support Facial Recognition Legislation

Mae Love
February 10, 2019

Amazon's five-step rulebook essentially calls for use of the tech to be governed by current laws, including those that protect civil rights.

The company released a blog post Thursday written by Michael Punke, vice president of global public policy at Amazon Web Services.

Amazon has engaged with various stakeholders over the past several months, according to Punke, to develop its proposed guidelines, which the company hopes policymakers consider as they evaluate their options for legislation.

Where the law stands: There are no federal laws specifically governing facial recognition but some states do have laws against using technology to identify people without consent. Then in December, Google said it was holding off on selling a general-purpose facial-recognition system until "important technology and policy questions" had been addressed. Oddly (or maybe not so much), his ideas have less to do with the regulation of Rekognition and more to do with micromanaging law enforcement.

"The time for action has arrived", he said, adding that the industry must also exercise restraint while using this technology. 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. 3. "We encourage policymakers to consider these guidelines as potential legislation and rules are considered in the United States and other countries", he said.

"There should be notice when video surveillance and facial recognition technology are used together in public or commercial settings". Punke writes that facial recognition matches should not be the sole determinant for making arrests or identifying persons of interest in a criminal investigation.

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"Amazon should make it crystal clear they are not exploiting this sensitive face data to, for example, enrich the face surveillance product that a coalition of 90 groups just demanded the company stop providing to governments", Cagle says. "In each case, we've demonstrated that the service was not used properly", he argued.

Punke, however, said new technology should not be banned or condemned because of its potential misuse. "Instead, there should be open, honest and earnest dialogue among all parties involved to ensure that the technology is applied appropriately and is continuously enhanced".

It is being widely conjectured that Amazon has recorded/is recording these five-second long video snippets as a part of measures to clamp down upon fake sellers and sellers of counterfeit goods.

Understandably, the Seattle based tech giant was grilled by newspersons aware of the development but the company refused to share any information or offer any explanation whatsoever.

"Facial recognition should always be used in accordance with the law, including laws that protect civil rights".

Amazon said it's joining a push for legislation on facial recognition technology.

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