Lawmakers Call on Amazon to Release Information About Bias in Facial Recognition Software
Congress is calling on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to release more information about the tech giant’s facial recognition software, Rekognition, after requests from lawmakers were unmet earlier this year.
In a letter, Lawmakers revealed the company “failed to provide sufficient answers” regarding Rekognition’s technology and have serious concerns about the product and, most notably, who is using it.
According to Axios, Amazon confirmed it met with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials over the summer to pitch their facial recognition software.
The company has numerous government contracts—including operating private cloud services for the CIA—and is actively marketing its technology to police departments.
Several lawmakers, including Rep. John Lewis, Rep. Ro Khanna, and Sen. Edward J. Markey, all expressed their concern in the letter.
“We have serious concerns that this type of product has significant accuracy issues, places disproportionate burdens on communities of color, and could stifle Americans’ willingness to exercise their First Amendment rights in public.”
They request Amazon provide the results of any internal accuracy or bias assessments performed on Rekognition and details on how they test for facial recognition accuracy and bias.
The company has until December 13 to respond.