As criticism over its facial recognition system Rekognition has grown among lawmakers and consumers alike, Amazon has come out in favor of legislating the technology and has even proposed guidelines on how to do so.
In a blog post, Amazon Web Services' VP of Global Public Policy, Michael Punke laid out five proposed guidelines on how the technology should be used responsibly.
However, Punke's suggestions come at a time when the company has been criticized for selling Rekognition to law enforcement agencies despite the fact that researchers claim to have discovered gender and ethnic biases in the system.
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Currently there are no federal rules regarding the use of facial recognition technology which is why Washington lawmakers are considering creating their own bill to regulate its use.
In his blog post, Punke suggested that federal regulation is necessary to control the use of facial recognition technology, saying:
“We understand why people want there to be oversight and guidelines put in place to make sure facial recognition technology cannot be used to discriminate. 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.”
While Amazon is now supporting the idea of federal regulation, the e-commerce giant has been hesitant to support Washington's state legislation due to a provision which would require facial recognition software to be open to third-party testing.
Facial recognition has huge implications for law enforcement but its potential for misuse is too high for the technology to be used without proper safeguards in place.
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