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Congressman calls out Amazon's 'performative' facial-recognition moratorium

Mashable

Sometimes, you just have to call BS. That appears to be the thinking of California Congressman Jimmy Gomez, who on June 17 shared a letter addressed to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos demanding specifics on his company's supposed year-long moratorium on providing its facial-recognition tools to police. Because when it comes to Amazon's big June 10 announcement, sadly there is no there there. Lest we forget, earlier this month Amazon attempted to make waves by claiming it would cease providing Rekognition to police for a year. Importantly, as Mashable and Amazon critics pointed out at the time, the pledge was a half-measure troublingly lacking in specifics.



Amazon Won't Let Police Use Its Facial-Recognition Tech for One Year

#artificialintelligence

Amazon announced on Wednesday it was implementing a "one-year moratorium" on police use of Rekognition, its facial-recognition technology. Lawmakers and civil liberties groups have expressed growing alarm over the tool's potential for misuse by law enforcement for years, particularly against communities of color. Now, weeks into worldwide protests against police brutality and racism sparked by the killing of George Floyd, Amazon appears to have acknowledged these concerns. In a short blog post about the decision, the tech giant said it hopes the pause "might give Congress enough time to implement appropriate rules" for the use of facial-recognition technology, which is largely unregulated in the US. Critics have said that the tech could easily be abused by the government, and they cite studies showing tools like Rekognition misidentify people of color at higher rates than white people.


The two-year fight to stop Amazon from selling face recognition to the police

MIT Technology Review

But on Wednesday, June 10, Amazon shocked civil rights activists and researchers when it announced that it would place a one-year moratorium on police use of Rekognition. The move followed IBM's decision to discontinue its general-purpose face recognition system. The next day, Microsoft announced that it would stop selling its system to police departments until federal law regulates the technology. While Amazon made the smallest concession of the three companies, it is also the largest provider of the technology to law enforcement. The decision is the culmination of two years of research and external pressure to demonstrate Rekognition's technical flaws and its potential for abuse.


Amazon Halts Police Use Of Its Facial Recognition Technology

NPR Technology

Amazon announced on Wednesday that it would freeze for one year the use of its facial recognition technology by law enforcement agencies. Amazon announced on Wednesday that it would freeze for one year the use of its facial recognition technology by law enforcement agencies. Amazon announced on Wednesday a one-year moratorium on police use of its facial-recognition technology, yielding to pressure from police-reform advocates and civil rights groups. It is unclear how many law enforcement agencies in the U.S. deploy Amazon's artificial intelligence tool, but an official with the Washington County Sheriff's Office in Oregon confirmed that it will be suspending its use of Amazon's facial recognition technology. Researchers have long criticized the technology for producing inaccurate results for people with darker skin.


A Pause on Amazon's Police Partnerships Is Not Enough

Slate

On Wednesday, in a brief blog post, Amazon made a surprising announcement: that it would implement a one-year moratorium on police use of its facial recognition service, Rekognition. The post did not mention the furious nationwide demand for reform in response to the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many other Black people. But it did cite developments "in recent days" indicating that Congress seemed prepared to implement "stronger regulations to govern the ethical use of facial recognition technology"--regulations that Amazon claims to be advocating for and ready to help shape in the coming year. But Amazon's sudden commitment to ostensibly transformative reform should be taken with a grain of salt hefty enough to unseat a Confederate monument from its rock-solid base. Americans won't receive the privacy and civil rights protections they need because a company like Amazon decides to give them to us.


Amazon to ban police use of facial recognition software for a year

The Guardian

Amazon is implementing a one-year moratorium on police use of its artificial intelligence software Rekognition amid a growing backlash over the tech company's ties to law enforcement. The company has recently stated its support for the Black Lives Matter movement, which advocates for police reform – using Twitter to call for an end to "the inequitable and brutal treatment of black people" in the US and has putting a "Black lives matter" banner at the top of its home page. But the company has been criticized as hypocritical because it sells its facial recognition software to police forces. Amazon has not said how many police forces use the technology, or how it is used, but marketing materials have promoted Rekognition being used in conjunction with police body cameras in real time. When it was first released, Amazon's Rekognition software was criticized by human rights groups as "a powerful surveillance system" that is available to "violate rights and target communities of color".


Amazon places 'moratorium' on police use of its facial recognition tech

Engadget

Amazon is temporarily halting the use of its controversial facial recognition technology in the wake of widespread protests against police violence and discrimination. The internet giant is starting a year-long "moratorium" on police use of Rekognition. The pause should give Congress time to pass "appropriate rules" for facial recognition, Amazon said, noting that it had called for "stronger" ethics regulations. The company will still allow use of facial recognition for organizations like Thorn, Marinus Analytics and the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children to help them rescue human trafficking victims and find missing kids. We've asked Amazon for comment.


Is Emotion AI only Hype or is it a Reality Platform to Showcase Innovative Startups and Tech News

#artificialintelligence

If anything can supersede the hype around artificial intelligence (AI) than it is probably Emotion AI, the irony is that the latter is the subset of AI itself. The hype around emotion AI revolves around the excitement of witnessing the mass infiltration of machines into complex world of human emotions. For too long machines have been considered as a beast that can interpret & simplify complex data but miserably falls short of replicating the same magic in the area of human emotion. However, this hypothesis and assumption is now being challenged by artificial intelligence. Emotion Ai is essentially one of emerging areas of AI where machines seek to analyze and comprehend human emotions by judging facial expressions, body language, gestures, voice tone so and so forth.


Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM are under pressure to follow Google and drop gender labels like 'man' and 'woman' from their AI

#artificialintelligence

Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM are under pressure to stop automatically applying gendered labels such as "man" or "woman" from images of people, after Google announced in February it would stop using such tags. All four companies offer powerful artificial intelligence tools that can classify objects and people in an image. The tools can variously describe famous landmarks, facial expressions, logos and gender, and have many applications including content moderation, scientific research, and identity verification. Google said it would drop gender labels from its Cloud Vision API image classification service last week, saying that it wasn't possible to infer someone's gender by appearance and that such labels could exacerbate bias. Now the AI researchers who helped bring about the change say Amazon's Rekognition, IBM's Watson, and Microsoft's Azure facial recognition should follow suit.