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Amazon's Rekognition System Sees Criminals In Congress

Rekognition, Amazon's new surveillance technology, made the news in an interesting way this week, falsely matching members of Congress with mugshots of criminals.

In a test the ACLU recently conducted of the facial recognition tool, called “Rekognition,” the software incorrectly matched 28 members of Congress, identifying them as other people who have been arrested for a crime.

The members of Congress who were falsely matched with the mugshot database we used in the test include Republicans and Democrats, men and women, and legislators of all ages, from all across the country.

To conduct our test, we used the exact same facial recognition system that Amazon offers to the public, which anyone could use to scan for matches between images of faces. And running the entire test cost us $12.33 — less than a large pizza.

(Via ACLU.)

Here is a quick rundown on how you can use Amazon's Rekognition technology yourself.


(Raspberry Pi and Amazon Rekognition Video)

Fans of science fiction's Golden Age will not be surprised that two of its biggest stars, Nat Schachner and Leo Zagat (who often wrote together as Schachner and Zagat) described a wonderful selective electric eye in their 1931 classic Exiles of the Moon:

But the selective beam of the electric eye refused to swing open the portal. Already the orders of the master of the house had barred the door against her. The actuating mechanism that should have operated by the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell, remained dead.

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