Gadgets

Amazon joins Microsoft's call to regularise facial recognition technology

Agency | February 08, 2019 10:41 AM

SAN FRANCISCO: Joining Microsoft's call to tame the misuse of facial recognition technology, retail giant Amazon's Cloud arm, Amazon Web Services (AWS), has asked lawmakers to formulate some rules around the use of the technology.

The announcement came amid increasing scrutiny on the use of facial recognition by researchers, lawmakers and civil liberties groups.

"Facial recognition should always be used in accordance with the law, including laws that protect civil rights," Michael Punke, Vice President, Global Public Policy, AWS, said in a blog post on Thursday.

"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."

AWS said that it supports the creation of a national legislative framework covering facial recognition through video and photographic monitoring on public or commercial premises.

"Our view is that facial recognition technology and video/photo surveillance should be covered by the same notice framework," Punke noted.

In a blog post in December, Microsoft President Brad Smith had said that given the potential for abuse of the fast advancing facial recognition technology, governments across the world need to start adopting laws to regulate this technology.

"Unless we act, we risk waking up five years from now to find that facial recognition services have spread in ways that exacerbate societal issuese.

"The time for action has arrived," Smith wrote, adding that the industry must also exercise restraint while using this technology.

According to Punke, there have been concerns about facial recognition technology and its potential use in connection with video monitoring in public or commercial settings.

"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."

Punke, however, said new technology should not be banned or condemned because of its potential misuse.

"Instead, there should be open, honest, and earnest dialogue among all parties involved to ensure that the technology is applied appropriately and is continuously enhanced," he noted.

Microsoft is one of several companies playing a leading role in developing facial recognition technology.

The company would start adopting new principles to manage the issues surrounding facial recognition technology in the first quarter of this year.

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