Politicians fume after Amazon's face-recog AI fingers dozens of them as suspected crooks

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Amazon's online facial recognition system incorrectly matched pictures of US Congress members to mugshots of suspected criminals in a study by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU, a nonprofit headquartered in New York, has called for Congress to ban cops and Feds from using any sort of computer-powered facial recognition technology due to the fact that, well, it sucks. Amazon's AI-powered Rekognition service was previously criticized by the ACLU when it revealed the web giant was aggressively marketing its face-matching tech to police in Washington County, Oregon, and Orlando, Florida. Rekognition is touted by the Bezos Bunch as, among other applications, a way to identify people in real time from surveillance camera footage or from officers' body cameras. The results from the ACLU's latest probing showed that Rekognition mistook images of 28 members of Congress for mugshots of cuffed people suspected of crimes.


Facebook Faces Class Action Lawsuit Challenging Its Use Of Facial Recognition Data

NPR Technology

Cardboard cutouts of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stand outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington as he testified before a Senate panel last week. Cardboard cutouts of Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stand outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington as he testified before a Senate panel last week. A federal judge in California has ruled that Facebook can be sued in a class-action lawsuit brought by users in Illinois who say the social network improperly used facial recognition technology on their uploaded photographs. The plaintiffs are three Illinois Facebook users who sued under a state law that says a private entity such as Facebook can't collect and store a person's biometric facial information without their written consent. The law, known as the Biometric Information Privacy Act, also says that information that uniquely identifies an individual is, in essence, their property.


Facebook loses facial recognition appeal, must face privacy class action

The Japan Times

NEW YORK – A federal appeals court on Thursday rejected Facebook Inc.'s effort to undo a class action lawsuit claiming that it illegally collected and stored biometric data on millions of users without their consent. The 3-0 decision from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco over Facebook's facial recognition technology exposes the company to billions of dollars in potential damages to the Illinois users who brought the case. It came as the social media company faces broad criticism from lawmakers and regulators over its privacy practices. Last month, Facebook agreed to pay a record $5 billion fine to settle a Federal Trade Commission data privacy probe. "This biometric data is so sensitive that if it is compromised, there is simply no recourse," Shawn Williams, a lawyer for plaintiffs in the class action, said in an interview.


Amazon investors press company to stop selling 'racially biased' surveillance tech to government agencies

FOX News

Why the American Civil Liberties Union is calling out Amazon's facial recognition tool, and what the ACLU found when it compared photos of members of Congress to public arrest photos. A group of Amazon shareholders is pushing the tech giant to stop selling its controversial facial recognition technology to U.S. government agencies, just days after a coalition of 85 human rights, faith, and racial justice groups demanded in an open letter that Jeff Bezos' company stop marketing surveillance technology to the feds. Over the last year, the "Rekognition" technology, which has been reportedly marketed to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), has come under fire from immigrants' rights groups and privacy advocates who argue that it can be misused and ultimately lead to racially biased outcomes. A test of the technology by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) showed that 28 members of Congress, mostly people of color, were incorrectly identified as police suspects. According to media reports and the ACLU, Amazon has already sold or marketed "Rekognition" to law enforcement agencies in three states.


Facebook facial recognition lawsuit can proceed, says US court

The Guardian

A US federal appeals court has rejected Facebook's effort to undo a class action lawsuit alleging it illegally collected and stored biometric data for millions of users without their consent using facial recognition technology. The 3-0 decision from the ninth US circuit court of appeals in San Francisco exposes the company to billions of dollars in potential damages paid out to the Illinois users who brought the case. The decision came as the social media company faces broad criticism from American politicians, lawmakers and regulators over its privacy practices. Last month, Facebook agreed to pay a record $5bn (£4bn) fine to settle a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) data privacy investigation. "This biometric data is so sensitive that if it is compromised, there is simply no recourse," Shawn Williams, a lawyer for plaintiffs in the class action, said in an interview.