12 Facts About Amazon Rekognition


Amazon Rekognition is a cloud-based software as a service computer vision platform that was launched in 2016.

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Amazon Rekognition was marketed as a general-purpose computer vision tool, and an engineer working for Washington County decided to use the tool for facial analysis of suspects.

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Amazon Rekognition was offered to the department for free, and Washington County became the first US law enforcement agency known to use Amazon Rekognition.

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In 2018, Amazon Rekognition was used to help identify celebrities during a royal wedding telecast.

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In July 2018, the ACLU released a test showing that Amazon Rekognition had falsely matched 28 members of Congress with mugshot photos, particularly Congresspeople of color.

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Amazon responded saying the Rekognition test had generated 80 percent confidence, while it recommended law enforcement only use matches rated at 99 percent confidence.

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In October 2018, it was reported that Amazon had earlier that year pitched Rekognition to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

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In January 2019, MIT researchers published a peer-reviewed study asserting that Amazon Rekognition had more difficulty in identifying dark-skinned females than competitors such as IBM and Microsoft.

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In March 2019, an open letter regarding Rekognition was sent by a group of prominent AI researchers to Amazon, criticizing its sale to law enforcement with around 50 signatures.

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Amazon Rekognition argued that the proposals were an "insignificant public policy issue for the Company" not related to Amazon Rekognition's ordinary business, but their appeal was denied.

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In March 2019, Amazon announced a Rekognition update that would improve emotional detection, and in August 2019, "fear" was added to emotions that Rekognition could detect.

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In June 2020, Amazon announced it was implementing a one-year moratorium on police use of Rekognition, in response to the George Floyd protests.

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