Crim­i­nals in Congress

Maximum PC - - QUICKSTART - – CL

Ama­zon has been work­ing with law en­force­ment agen­cies on a con­tro­ver­sial face recog­ni­tion sys­tem, Rekog­ni­tion. It aims to match up to 100 faces in an im­age against a li­brary of mil­lions, to spot, well, crim­i­nals, pre­sum­ably.

The Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union ran pic­tures of mem­bers of Congress through the sys­tem. Com­i­cally, Rekog­ni­tion matched 28 mem­bers with crim­i­nal mugshots. The ACLU claimed the sys­tem had an ac­cu­racy of about 80 per­cent— way short of any­thing use­ful. The ex­act test­ing pro­ce­dure is un­clear, but ap­par­ently was put to­gether for an Ama­zon fee of $12.33.

Face recog­ni­tion will work, and is fine in a limited en­vi­ron­ment, such as un­lock­ing a phone. How­ever, there is still a lot of work to do to. The eth­i­cal di­men­sion of scan­ning the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion is another mat­ter. The tech is com­ing; we need to un­der­stand it, and be ready.

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