For the next year Amazon is putting a stop to allowing law enforcement to use its controversial Rekognition platform. IBM has recently said it also it would no longer offer, develop, or research facial recognition technology. IBM is concerned that there could be a potential human rights and privacy violation. Despite the advances provided by artificial intelligence there is still great concern as it remains biased along lines of a person’s gender, race, age and ethnicity.
This didn’t come as a surprise. Amazon has tried to undermine the findings of Joy Buolamwini from the MIT Media Lab and Timnit Gebru from Microsoft Research. Their research shows that the balance of identification varied substantially base on a person’s skin tone. Buolamwini is quoted as saying “Amazon’s approach thus far has been one of denial, deflection, and delay. We cannot rely on Amazon to police itself or provide unregulated and unproven technology to police or government agencies.” The two researches reports have since been supported by dozens of AI researchers who say that Rekognition is flawed and shouldn’t be used by law enforcement.
Amazon will in the meantime continue to provide the use of their technology to organizations who’s focus is to find missing and exploited children in the battle against Human Trafficking. Facial recognition isn’t a new thing as there is a secretive company named Clearview AI that has been scraping social media and building a database of over 3 billion photos. Clearview as been selling this database to law enforcement. Clearview is now facing a number of privacy lawsuits.