Amazon’s facial recognition tool, which the company sells to government agencies and other customers, reportedly misidentified 28 members of Congress as police suspects.
The experiment was conducted by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who paid “just $12.33 to have Amazon Rekognition compare official photos of every member of the U.S. House and Senate against a database of 25,000 public arrest photos,” and the results showed 28 members of Congress were matched with police suspects, with Reuters claiming the matches “were disproportionately people of color.”
39 percent were reportedly “African-American and Latino lawmakers, versus 20 percent who identify as a person of color in Congress.”
From the Senate, Sen. John Isakson (R-GA), Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) all flagged up on the system.
The following members of Congress were also flagged:
Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Rep. George Butterfield (D-NC), Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO), Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), Rep. Thomas Garrett (R-VA), Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT), Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL), Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA), Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Rep. David Loebsack (D-IA), Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI), Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY), Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA), Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX), Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), Rep. Steve Womack (R-AK),
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY).
“Congress must take these threats seriously, hit the brakes, and enact a moratorium on law enforcement use of face recognition,” declared the ACLU. “This technology shouldn’t be used until the harms are fully considered and all necessary steps are taken to prevent them from harming vulnerable communities.”
Last month, it was reported that Orlando, Florida, was considering whether to resume testing Amazon’s facial recognition system in the city following complaints.
It was recently announced that New York state is using facial recognition technology at toolbooths, although the state does not use Amazon’s technology.
British police have found that facial recognition scanning is up to 98 percent inaccurate in tests, but is continuing to increase the footprint of their scanning system.