Amazon has recently come under fire for licensing its controversial recognition software, a powerful facial recognition software, to government and law enforcement agencies. The latest development included revelations that hit Amazon with the US Immigration and Customs Authority (ICE) to find a deal for Recoknition this summer. Well, Amazon employees are taking the lead in selling these technologies, especially if they allow people to be tracked down and returned to potentially dangerous environments overseas.
Amazon Web Services CEO Andrew Jassy told employees today at a meeting with everyone involved: "We feel really great and very strong about how Amazon recognizes our customers of all sizes and types of industries Area of law enforcement and outside provides law enforcement, "said an employee of Amazon, who spoke with The Verge on the condition of anonymity and provided a partial transcript of the conversation. BuzzFeed first reported on Jassy's comments that afternoon.
Amazon was not immediately available for comment.
AWS, Amazon's cloud computing division, is responsible for powering Recoknition, which is currently used by police forces in Florida and Oregon. Jassy was asked by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos to specifically answer a question about recognisation and possible government contracts with organizations like ICE. Jassy added, "They do not want to get rid of this technology," but noted that for breaches of AWS's Terms of Service or violations of general constitutional rights, Amazon is being forced to prohibit its use of its services. However, he noted that the company believes that "it is the government's job to help shape the policy on technology."
The involvement of Amazon in government contracts with Rekognition is the study of the system is deeply flawed, both in terms of accuracy and the inherent racial bias. The American Civil Liberties Union tested Rekognition in the summer and found that the system misidentified 28 members of Congress from a database of 25,000 mug shots. The company also declined to participate in a comprehensive study of algorithmic prejudice by the National Institute of Standards and Technology to determine when race and gender bias can affect the error rate of a face recognition algorithm.
Here is the complete protocol of the exchange of the all-hands session:
Q: What is being done in response to the concerns of Amazon employees and civil rights groups regarding Amazon facial recognition technology? Government and police organizations, including ICE?
Amazon boss Jeff Bezos: Good. Andy, do you want to take that?
Andrew Jassy, CEO of AWS: Thank you. We're referring to Amazon Recognition, which is AWS ̵1; Deep Learning Image Recognition, Face Recognition, Video Recognition Service, and you know, with over five hundred thousand employees, as we have on Amazon, I think we'll have people who have very far-reaching opinions have, which is great. We feel really great and very strong about the value that Amazon Recognition provides to our customers of all sizes and industries in law enforcement and outside law enforcement.
You see it in the value that people actually get. Only one and a half years of service, in which recognition is actively used to stop human trafficking, to bring together missing children with parents for education purposes, to maintain safety and security Prevent authentication with multiple factors to prevent theft.
Amazon Recognition offers a lot of value. Of course, you now have to make sure that every type of technology is used responsibly. This also applies to the new and existing technology. Just think of all the evil that could and would be done with computers or servers, and you think about what a different place our world would be if we did not know how people have computers.
Update 11/8, 19:16 ET: Information about research into the shortcomings of Amazon's recognition system has been added.