Facing Up To Bad Biometrics

The ACLU conducted a controversial experiment last week with Amazon’s popular face matching software Rekognition. They ran photos of every member of Congress against a database of criminal mugshots. Twenty-eight members of Congress matched as potential criminals, many of them people of color. One of the 28, Rep. John Lewis, wrote a letter to Amazon asking them to “address the defects of this technology in order to prevent inaccurate outcomes.” If ACLU’s intent was to focus congressional attention on the poor state of face biometric products, however briefly, they succeeded. But this has come up before. Last May the Congressional Black Caucus raised concerns to Amazon that local police use of


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