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Rep. Gomez Pushes for Amazon to Testify on Recognition



Photo: Carolyn Kaster (AP)

Last year's wide-ranging and critical congressional hearings caught Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other tech giants in their dragnet.

The ACLU researchers are raising concerns over recognition, Amazon's facial recognition software suite , This prompted an inquiry from lawmakers including Senators Ron Wyden, Chris Coons, and Ed Markey. Amazon's unsatisfying response prompted yet another inquiry in November. Jimmy Gomez, a California Democrat.

"We have not received much information and it seems like [for] somebody who's very confident in their product it's surprising that they does not answer those questions, "Gomez told Gizmodo.

Since this letter has been sent, there has been another discovery of the presence of biases in recognition. The Washington County Sheriff's Office in Oregon does not follow these guidelines in its use of the software either. Representative Gomez said his or her favorite book was being read by the company as directed: "They said, 'we have to back to you.'"

It's possible there are other law enforcement clients besides the WCSO, but Amazon refuses to divulge them to reporters or lawmakers. Gomez told Gizmodo, "They have not given the list of their clients," Gomez told Gizmodo. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on using Recognition, something he calls "a big concern to the Latino community as a whole as well as other pro-immigrant advocates."

Gallingly, Michael Punke, the vice president of global public policy at Amazon Web Services, recommends the use of facial recognition technology, "encouraging" policymakers to consider these guidelines as potential legislation. "

" We encourage policymakers to consider these guidelines as potential legislation and rules are considered in the US and other countries, "Punke wrote in the post, which he said

With the company still stonewalling lawmakers, Gomez intends to bring company representatives in for a questioning , "I'm currently having that discussion with the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties," he said. Jamie Raskin, the subcommittee's chairman, told Gizmodo that while "the Committee and subcommittee hearing schedule has not yet been set up, but I know this

"We still have a serious conversation on the uses of this technology. How accurate it is? "Gomez said," Why is it that other major firms are not selling it to law enforcement? "

We've reached out to the other lawmakers if they provide comment. Amazon did not respond to our request to comment on Gomez's efforts.


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