U.S. Congressmen & ACLU Say Facial Recognition Is Racist

Democrat congressmen are claiming facial recognition is racially biased.

Seattle, WA – Two Democratic U.S. Congressmen sent a letter May 25 to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos claiming that the facial recognition software being tested with two police departments is racially biased.

The letter was signed by U.S. Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota and U.S Representative Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri.

The sending of the letter coincides with ACLU efforts to prevent police from using facial recognition technology.

In the letter, the congressmen state: “A series of studies have shown that face recognition technology is consistently less accurate in identifying the faces of African Americans and women as compared to Caucasians and men. The disproportionally high arrest rates for members of the black community make the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement problematic, because it could serve to reinforce this trend.”

There were 41 civil rights organizations have called for Bezos to stop selling the facial recognition software known as Rekognition to law enforcement.

The technology uses artificial intelligence to identify people from images or videos and can identify up to 100 of the largest faces in a single image, according to CNN.

CNN reported that the letter released by the ACLU stated: "This product poses a grave threat to communities, including people of color and immigrants, and to the trust and respect Amazon has worked to build.”

The ACLU confirmed that Amazon was working with law enforcement in regards to the facial recognition technology. The two agencies are the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon and the Orlando Police Department in Florida.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said it has about 300,000 images in its jail booking photo database that it uploaded to Rekognition, according to CNN.

That sheriff’s office said that state law already prevents it from using facial recognition technology for mass or real time surveillance.

Orlando Police Chief John Mina said that their test is not recording or tracking members of the public - it's tracking the faces of police officers who volunteered.

“There’s no privacy concerns because we’re just using the pictures of Orlando police officers who’ve volunteered for the program,” he said, adding: “As far as privacy, these are all public spaces, so there are no privacy concerns.”

Comments (16)
No. 1-16
RunCop
RunCop

To a certain ethnic group EVERYTHING is racist!

Budman
Budman

How will crimes be solved? Color of skin is totally irrelevant!!

JBo
JBo

Wow. Just wow.

Lt Retired OCPD
Lt Retired OCPD

I didn’t know that the facial recognition software only gave hits on minority’s. Wow

Lt Retired OCPD
Lt Retired OCPD

I didn’t know that facial recognition software only gave hits on minority’s. Learn something new every day. Right!!

Just-My-Thoughts
Just-My-Thoughts

Wouldn't that help not to arrest the wrong African American or minority? When technology, ie, body cams, came to pass all of a sudden that's racist too. Stats show per portion, there are more black arrests because blacks COMMIT MORE CRIMES/SHOOTINGS/ROBBERIES, ETC. White people didn't make that happen. Stupid people made the dumbest accusations.........stay in school, get a job, respect others and stay out of trouble. That will stop the black community from being arrested. So, so sick of all this racism talk. Wolf, wolf, wolf........get a life.

Marxest
Marxest

I'm not sure how Facial Recognition technology is "racist". I think the congressmen might have over reached in this particular case.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday
  1. Some races generate more false positives than others. 2. Imperfect technology selectively aimed at some races more than others.
BMartino
BMartino

own the crime. Black,white or whatever race. Everyone is now a victim to everything and everything is rasist if lord forbid a black man or woman are arrested.

BMartino
BMartino

Is the video at the 7-11 rasist because it has video of a Pearson other than a white man or woman robbing them. Is it that they film in black and white so that the can change the race? Move over for the next Cleaver outrages rant of BS. Live in mo so I live his shit

Mrs10
Mrs10

@Burgers Allday - If it is actually proven that the system cannot accurately identify people of color or females then it needs to be pulled until it can be updated but NOT permanently. If people weren't breaking the law they would have no reason to worry about being spotted by this system. It's just another tool for law enforcement but not the only one. As the CNN article quotes one of the Sheriff's offices in question "a facial recognition match alone, no matter the percentage match, does not establish probable cause to arrest a suspect" and added images used by the system are ones that have been legally obtained.

At this time it's being used to identify people who are committing crimes (like theft say a store) or those who do not have ID/give false ID to the cops.

"The Sheriff's Office does not use the technology for mass and/or real time surveillance. In fact, state law and our policy prohibits it for such use," he added.

Reppoc493
Reppoc493

Wait wait....is ellison actually saying they all look alike? Lmao

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

@Mrs10: the burden of proof should be on the system to prove perfect accuracy -- the burden should not be on the critics to prove the degree of inaccuracy.

LEO0301
LEO0301

@Reppoc493 I was thinking there's a "they all look alike" joke in this story, LOL

Astroserf
Astroserf

Everything is racist to the Democrat party followers as well.

Det_John_Kimble
Det_John_Kimble

My oh my! What will we do when everyone in a million years is a mutt of all races and we all look the same? How will Al Sharpton's great great great to the 10th power grandson make any money?