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Amazon proposes regulatory guidelines for facial recognition

(Image credit: Image Credit: Zapp2Photo / Shutterstock)

Facial recognition tools are handy, but could potentially curb civil rights. That’s why there have been calls for legislation, to make sure whichever company offers facial recognition tools, does so in responsible manner.

Given that no such law exists yet in the United States, Amazon has written a blog post outlying a few suggestions of its own. Writing about oversight and guidelines, Amazon Web Services VP of Global Public Policy, Michael Punke, says they need to make sure facial recognition isn’t used for discrimination.

"We support the calls for an appropriate national legislative framework that protects individual civil rights and ensures that governments are transparent in their use of facial recognition technology."

Here’s what he proposes:

  • "Facial recognition should always be used in accordance with the law, including laws that protect civil rights."
  • "When facial recognition technology is used in law enforcement, human review is a necessary component to ensure that the use of a prediction to make a decision does not violate civil rights." 
  • "When facial recognition technology is used by law enforcement for identification, or in a way that could threaten civil liberties, a 99% confidence score threshold is recommended." 
  • "Law enforcement agencies should be transparent in how they use facial recognition technology."
  • "There should be notice when video surveillance and facial recognition technology are used together in public or commercial settings."

Legislators in the state of Washington (Amazon’s home state) are considering a bill of their own, as they wait for federal rules. Microsoft has been lobbying for such a bill, but according to ZDNet, Amazon wasn’t too happy about (opens in new tab) this.

Image Credit: Zapp2Photo / Shutterstock

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.