Amazon, maker of racist and sexist facial recog, to suggest regulations for facial recog systems

Now we're really scared

Amazon is drafting proposals for the regulation of facial recognition technology.

Founder Jeff Bezos told reporters at the company's annual Alexa devices launch this week that the company's public policy team is working on proposed regulations for the controversial technology.

"Our public policy team is actually working on facial recognition regulations, and it makes a lot of sense to regulate that," he said.

"It's a perfect example of something that has really positive uses, so you don't want to put the brakes on it. At the same time, there's lots of potential for abuses with that kind of technology, and so you do want regulations."

Amazon's Rekognition software product has previously come under fire for being biased against women and people of colour, making it inappropriate to use in law enforcement and surveillance.

The software analyses snaps of faces to try to ascertain gender, age and emotions. The company recently claimed it even can detect fear.

But last month the system wrongly matched one in five Californian politicians with images from a database of 25,000 wanted criminals' mugshots in tests by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Facial recognition remains highly controversial. A number of US states have banned its use by city personnel, although private companies can still use the technology.

Earlier this month, MPs across parties in the UK called for an immediate "stop" to live facial recognition surveillance by the police and in public places.

A report from security and defence think tank the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) also recently warned that British police officials have reservations about the use of predictive policing algorithms, calling them imprecise and biased. ®

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