AWS CEO Andy Jassy delivers the keynote at the 2018 reInvent confrerence. (Amazon Web Services Photo)
Amazon’s latest update to its Rekognition software is renewing an outcry from civil rights groups over facial recognition technology. Amazon said Tuesday that its algorithm can now detect fear from the expression on a person’s face.
This fear-detection capability, along with seven other emotions, is now part of the default set of capabilities for customers who use Amazon Rekognition to identify people from databases of images and videos. Those customers include several law enforcement agencies, which a key concern for civil rights groups.
The American Civil Liberties Union is aggressively lobbying for legislation to slow or stop police adoption of facial recognition technology. The ACLU has conducted several studies that show Rekognition misidentifying people of color and women more frequently than white men.
Amazon said in the announcement this week that it has “improved accuracy for emotion detection (for all 7 emotions: ‘Happy’, ‘Sad’, ‘Angry’, ‘Surprised’, ‘Disgusted’, ‘Calm’ and ‘Confused’) and added a new emotion: ‘Fear’.”
Amazon’s update to Rekognition comes one day after the ACLU released a new study tied to a bill under consideration in the California legislature. The ACLU says that facial recognition software falsely matched 26 members of the California legislature with mugshots from a public database. The goal of the study was to encourage lawmakers to approve a bill that would ban facial recognition software in police-worn body cameras.
“These cameras were promised to communities for officer accountability and transparency, not for surveillance,” said ACLU of California attorney Matt Cagle at a press conference.
An Amazon spokesperson disputed the ACLU’s findings and provided this statement.
“The ACLU is once again knowingly misusing and misrepresenting Amazon Rekognition to make headlines. As we’ve said many times in the past, when used with the recommended 99% …read more