Congress Members Want Answers After Amazon's Facial Recognition Software Says 28 Of Them Are Criminals

from the but-they're-all-crooks-amirite dept

Hey, American citizens! Several of your Congressional representatives are criminals! Unfortunately, this will come as a completely expected news to many constituents. The cynic in all of us knows the only difference between a criminal and a Congressperson is a secured conviction.

We may not have the evidence we need to prove this, but we have something even better: facial recognition technology. This new way of separating the good and bad through the application of AI and algorithms is known for two things: being pushed towards ubiquity by government agencies and being really, really bad at making positive identifications.

At this point it's unclear how much Prime members will save on legal fees and bail expenditures, but Amazon is making its facial recognition tech ("Rekognition") available to law enforcement. It's also making it available to the public for testing. ACLU took it up on its offer, spending $12.33 to obtain a couple dozen false hits using shots of Congressional mugs.

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.

The bad news gets worse.

The false matches were disproportionately of people of color, including six members of the Congressional Black Caucus, among them civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).

And here's the chilling lineup of usual suspects according to Amazon's Rekognition:

Using 25,000 publicly-available mugshots and Rekognition's default settings, the ACLU picked up a bunch of false hits in very little time. This is only a small portion of what's available to law enforcement using this system. Agencies have access to databases full of personal info and biometric data for hundreds of thousands of people, including people who've never been charged with a crime in their lives.

The obvious downside to a false hit is, at minimum, the unjustified distribution of identifying info to law enforcement officers to confirm/deny the search results. At most, it will be the loss of freedom for someone wrongly identified as someone else. Recourse takes the form of lawsuits with a high bar for entry and slim likelihood of success, thanks to several built-in protections for law enforcement officers.

Amazon continues to market this system to law enforcement agencies despite its apparent shortcomings. Very little has been written about the successes of facial recognition technology. There's a good reason for this: there aren't that many. There certainly haven't been enough to justify the speedy rollout of this tech by a number of government agencies.

This little experiment has already provoked a response from Congressional members who are demanding answers from Amazon about the ACLU's test results. Amazon, for its part, claims the ACLU's test was "unfair" because it used the default 80% "confidence" setting, rather than the 95% recommended for law enforcement. The ACLU has responded, noting this is the default setting on Rekognition and nothing prompts the user -- which could be a law enforcement officer -- to change this setting to eliminate more false positives. In any event, at least Congress is talking about it, rather than nodding along appreciatively as federal agencies deploy the tech without public consultation or mandated privacy impact reports turned in.


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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Jul 2018 @ 8:47am

    Goose, Gander, Good, can you feel now?

    I had been dreaming about Congresscritters, Judges, or high level law enforcement officials, or even high level bureaucrats being caught up in some of the antics law enforcement exhibit these days. This will do for a start.

    It is too bad that they weren't actually taken into custody and held for some time (it would be illegal to arrest a congress person on their way to a vote) in order for someone up there in the ethereal levels of government to take notice. If they are as vulnerable as the rest of us, they might put aside their quest for power, and do something for the rest of us.

    I have little hope, but this might give them a nudge in the right direction.

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    • identicon
      Thad, 27 Jul 2018 @ 10:16am

      Re: Goose, Gander, Good, can you feel now?

      I had been dreaming about Congresscritters, Judges, or high level law enforcement officials, or even high level bureaucrats being caught up in some of the antics law enforcement exhibit these days.

      ...you...have no idea who John Lewis is, do you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Jul 2018 @ 10:25am

        Re: Re: Goose, Gander, Good, can you feel now?

        A little, but he wasn't subject to false facial recognition then. There were other, also ill considered, reasons for his arrests.

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        • identicon
          Thad, 27 Jul 2018 @ 11:23am

          Re: Re: Re: Goose, Gander, Good, can you feel now?

          Fair enough, I suppose, but it's not as if he's unfamiliar with abusive law enforcement practices or racial profiling.

          I would guess that quite a few of the people in that list are familiar with those things.

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    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 27 Jul 2018 @ 4:52pm

      Famous people getting profiled

      I've seen the effect more often from famous people getting caught up in police shenanigans when they're just trying to duck the crowds to do some light shopping.

      The old Henry V trick of kings wandering about engaging their subjects while disguised in order to pick up the pulse of the common public has appeared in history a few times. It would make sense for our officials to try it occasionally if they cared about public opinion.

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      • identicon
        alternatives(), 28 Jul 2018 @ 3:58pm

        Re: Famous people getting profiled

        While the comment section of the local newspaper is a poor place to get public opinion I'm betting the social media analytics can be bundled up in such a way to get the pulse on the under 50 crowd and the better off over 50 crowd. Better than wandering the street or some kind of 2 hour "listening session" in a town.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 9:13am

    ah! the truth hurts then!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 9:13am

    How dare Amazon to declare that 28 are criminals.

    Only 28 what happened to the rest? Why were they not branded too?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 9:21am

    Congress Members Want Answers After Amazon's Facial Recognition Software Says 28 Of Them Are Criminals

    Are they concerned about the alarmingly low identification rate?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Hero, 27 Jul 2018 @ 9:23am

    Need more info

    > The false matches were disproportionately of people of color

    Does anyone know whether or not Rekognition uses skin color for matching? I think most facial recognition techniques do not use skin color at all [citation needed].

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 9:35am

      Re: Need more info

      Even if they don't directly use color (I have no idea whether they do) it's not like skin color is the only physical difference between the races; it's just the most obvious to most people.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 9:48am

      Re: Need more info

      The bad news gets worse.

      > The false matches were disproportionately of people of color, including six members of the Congressional Black Caucus, among them civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).

      Facial recognition software has no race bias. If the results are "disproportionate" then the database of facial structures must represent the biased class in greater numbers. Don't blame the tool.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Gary (profile), 27 Jul 2018 @ 10:17am

        Re: Re: Need more info

        Actually, such algorithmic software may often have bias baked in from the initial data supplied:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algorithmic_bias

        It's easy to say the computer doesn't care so it's impartial - but it often isn't.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 10:35am

        Re: Re: Need more info

        In theory, it should have no racial bias.

        However, in practice, it assigns a probability that two images are of the same face based on how likely it is that two people would have the same [insert list of facial features].

        If the algorithm fails to account for multicollinearity (that is, the fact that two data points often show up together and thus the existence of the second doesn't prove much once you know the existence of the first), then it can absolutely be racially biased. A poorly programmed algorithm, trained mostly on white faces, could easily conclude that two black people who share features uncommon to white faces, but common among black faces, look enough alike to be flagged as the same person. To have, really, a bias that all black people look alike, which would be incredibly racist.

        Does this algorithm have that kind of bias? I don't have enough information to know. It's certainly happened in the past.

        But categorically ruling it out seems foolish. And contending that it's because the sample is larger is especially so: these kinds of algorithm are more accurate when they have more data to train themselves on, so underrepresented racial groups are more likely to trigger false positives than overrepresented ones.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 12:56pm

          Re: Re: Re: Need more info

          > underrepresented racial groups are more likely to trigger false positives than overrepresented ones

          That's a very good point

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      • identicon
        David, 27 Jul 2018 @ 12:39pm

        Re: Re: Need more info

        If the results are "disproportionate" then the database of facial structures must represent the biased class in greater numbers. Don't blame the tool.

        So tacking on "with a computer" disperses all blame? A lot of prejudice is statistically valid and individually unjust. As long as our judicial system punishes people individually rather than for having features correlated to criminals, being racially unbiased, treating everybody as an individual until proven differently, is hard work. It's also necessary in order not to cause self-fulfilling prophesies and have society progress as a whole, reward individual virtue, and be visible in similar ways to all constituents so that they can vote and campaign in a qualified manner.

        "with a computer" does not magically disperse the bias reflecting our current society and its history. Nor does "with statistics".

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 9:56am

      Re: Need more info

      Photographic skin color will change according to lighting, being affected by both brightness and wavelength, so it would not be a reliable indicator, even without makeup. Unless of course there is some sort of built in correction to adjust for ambient lighting conditions, a rather complex solution..

      False positives would be expected to be "disproportionately of people of color" whenever that segment of the population is disproportionately criminal.

      The widespread adoption of facial recognition by police could spark a boom in "defensive" plastic surgery, especially of the extreme variety. While the "old" Michael Jackson might have resembled many common criminals, the "new" Michael Jackson really didn't resemble any other human on the planet, making any potential false positive extremely unlikely.

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/mzhang/2015/07/01/google-photos-tags-two-african-americans-as-gorillas- through-facial-recognition-software/

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Will B., 28 Jul 2018 @ 12:12pm

        Re: Re: Need more info

        "False positives would be expected to be "disproportionately of people of color" whenever that segment of the population is disproportionately criminal."

        ...or if that segment of the popukation is disproportionately criminalIZED. Consider: they are matching to convicted criminals, right? So if, say, black people are more likely to be convicted of the same crime than white people? If, just for a hypothetical, black people are more likely to be arrested in the first place on marijuana-related charges, despite drug use actually being relatively even among most segments of society? Or, say, minorities being less likely to get out of convictions due to having poorer legal representation and more bias against them in a courtroom setting?

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    • icon
      ShadowNinja (profile), 27 Jul 2018 @ 11:06am

      Re: Need more info

      The thing is some people, especially those with white skin, can change their skin color through tanning and sun burns much easier.

      Me and my brother grew up thinking for a while that our grandfather was black because of what a dark tan he always had year round. From what my mother said it built up over time because of the lack of sun screen protection products that worked back in his days.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 11:18am

      Re: Need more info

      Most facial recognition algorithms use machine learning and it is difficult to make definitive statements about what does and doesn't impact the result.

      One known issue is that some algorithms use the light reflecting off the nose as a factor and darker skin results in less reflectivity and thus less variance in the reflection. In general, facial recognition algorithms consistently have the best results on the majority ethnicity of the country where they were designed.

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    • identicon
      alternatives(), 28 Jul 2018 @ 4:00pm

      Re: Need more info

      As I understand - the one data source was mugshots. Mugshots have a bias in for race. But also class.

      And I bet what's chapping the buttocks of the leadership class is they are being confused with the other class.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2018 @ 9:22am

        Re: Re: Need more info

        The data source being compared to was mugshots. But the facial recognition algorithms may have been trained on a different dataset, which would be what controls how they attempt to match faces. Likely sources would be a constructed representative sample of the US(which would be majority-white) or scraped from taggrd photos on social media (which would be even more white). The algorithms generated by doing that would have the highest accuracy on white faces.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Thad, 30 Jul 2018 @ 10:11am

        Re: Re: Need more info

        Already addressed this downthread, but here it is again:

        Yes, yes, the "lol everyone in Congress is a crook" joke has been made several times already in this thread. But no, not everyone in Congress is a wealthy crook. Raul Grijalva's net worth is estimated at under $300,000. That's not chump change, but it hardly makes him one of the wealthiest people in the country. It doesn't even make him one of the wealthiest people in Tucson.

        It would probably be helpful to actually look up the people who have been snagged by this racially-biased mismatch and find out who they are and what they're about rather than make ignorant generalizations about people in Congress. If you seriously believe that John Lewis's real problem with being racially profiled is that he doesn't want to be mistaken for a poor person, then congratulations on having no fucking idea who John Lewis is.

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  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 27 Jul 2018 @ 9:25am

    "Says 28 Of Them Are Criminals"
    I'd say it got it just right.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous PRIME member, 27 Jul 2018 @ 9:34am

    So if I

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous PRIME member, 27 Jul 2018 @ 9:36am

    So if I'm a prime member..

    Do I get a free pass? Will it not find that I match a mugshot?

    Sign up for Prime, and don't be recognized as a Felon! What a sales tactic! :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 9:43am

    5 of 435 is 1.2%. The ACLU is a few hundred trouble-makers

    out of 200 million Americans#. So this non-story is at best driven by 0.000-something% and then 1.2%, while you ignore a hundred items of high importance. Typical Techdirt Tempest-in-a-Thimble.

    Five members of Congress ... Jimmy Gomez, John Lewis, Luis Gutierrez and Mark DeSaulnier and Sen. Edward Markey

    And anyway, WHAT THE HELL IS THE POINT OF CRITICIZING BETA SOFTWARE?

    Next story, please. Probably have to wait 2 hours for another ginned-up fanboy-feeding re-write from several days ago.

    Using reasonable definition of "American": doesn't include you antis who want it changed to European feudalism or globalism, incoherent malcontents-without-a-cause (not even up to rebels, just grrr and stuff), nor those here illegally.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 10:08am

      Re: 5 of 435 is 1.2%. The ACLU is a few hundred trouble-makers

      1.2% nationally? 7.2M people...

      Societies prosecute social outliers. The peredo principle scales, even if you prune data. Which is to say that there will ALWAYS be outliers, even when you get rid of all of the current people you thought were outliers.

      People who think they haven't perpetrated at least one felony in their life, haven't read much law. What we're talking about here is a technical system, that is objectively evaluating candidates for prosecution within a subjective sociological system, that has a false positive ratio of 100%. Because all of us are criminals.

      There is no question that this is going to go completely off the rails. There is a ratio that the accuracy of law enforcement can not scale beyond without serious consequences. The law is simply not fit to become cybernetically enhanced, regardless of how good the tech is. As the pressure mounts, the most likely outcome, is that descrimination on non-legal basis' will become the pressure valve. Racism, sexism, etc. Will be determinant more than the crime, because the field of prosecution will be abundant, and the prosecutors will therefore be compelled to choose. And you can be assured, they won't choose people like them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 28 Jul 2018 @ 4:55pm

        "not fit to become cybernetically enhanced"

        The FBI was formed to target the 20th century mobs and foreign espionage elements on US soil. After the cold war ended, it has not transitioned well, which is why now it singles out mentally disabled people and frames them for terrorist-like activities.

        Similarly, cannabis is becoming decriminalized and cocaine and meth have dropped off. Heroin is on the rise thanks to the opiate crisis, but arresting people who were hooked by their own doctors doesn't look good. So the DEA has also turned to entrapment and busts with false evidence.

        Part of the problem is that we have these agencies which were meant to attack certain types of crime. But if they succeed in actually reducing that crime (or the crime reduces on its own due to other circumstances) then they lose sweet, sweet budget money, and they have to maintain a high conviction rate, even if it's manufactured.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 10:40am

      Re: 5 of 435 is 1.2%. The ACLU is a few hundred trouble-makers

      The software is NOT Beta. Amazon is busy selling the software to law enforcement agencies.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        alternatives(), 28 Jul 2018 @ 4:06pm

        Re: Re: 5 of 435 is 1.2%. The ACLU is a few hundred trouble-makers

        At one time a package called rekognition had a free API for low volume testing. And it got closed to that API I want to say 3-5 years ago. Remember too the US Army had facial recognition as part of its insurgent database fighting efforts in the (rounding up) 2 decade Afghanistan conflict on iPads. That military data strikes me as a FOIAable thing and I'm betting someone has that as part of their FOIA collection efforts.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 10:48am

      Re: 5 of 435 is 1.2%. The ACLU is a few hundred trouble-makers

      "WHAT THE HELL IS THE POINT OF CRITICIZING BETA SOFTWARE?"

      To get bugs fixed?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 12:03pm

      Re: 5 of 435 is 1.2%. The ACLU is a few hundred trouble-makers

      There were 28 false positives. So that would put it at 28 out of 535(100 in the Senate + 435 in the House). That means 5.23% or 18.3 million Americans would get caught up in a digital dragnet.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 12:42pm

      Re: 5 of 435 is 1.2%. The ACLU is a few hundred trouble-makers

      You really are an idiot aren't you?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 3:24pm

      That’s your 1,000,002 anomaly. Congratulations!!!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 8:02pm

        Re: That’s your 1,000,002 anomaly. Congratulations!!!

        You've got to cut blue boy some slack.

        False positives is how his favorite copyright enforcement corporations make bank by suing anyone and everyone.

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  • identicon
    Bruce C., 27 Jul 2018 @ 9:55am

    Wait...

    Amazon AI says that ONLY 28 members of congress are criminals? That definitely needs some retraining/recalibrating.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 9:56am

    "At most, it will be the loss of freedom..." Hardly.

    Considering the itchy trigger finger of many cops, it could well result in death. All it would take would be one little wrong move by someone that some cop is now convinced is a terrorist or other dangerous criminal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rekrul, 27 Jul 2018 @ 3:34pm

      Re: "At most, it will be the loss of freedom..." Hardly.

      There was a story (I think it was on here) a while back about cops beating a guy to a pulp because facial recognition software matched him to a blurry picture of a bank robber.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        alternatives(), 28 Jul 2018 @ 4:11pm

        Re: Re: "At most, it will be the loss of freedom..." Hardly.

        Remember when a few cops though a blue toyota truck matched a Nissan Titan and over 100 rounds were discharged? These are objects that have actual IDs of what they are on the surface of the object.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Tin-Foil-Hat, 27 Jul 2018 @ 10:06am

    Only 28?

    If it only identified 28 members of congress as criminals it's clearly malfunctioning.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 10:12am

    In other news...

    I eat peanut butter to avoid peanuts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    lucidrenegade (profile), 27 Jul 2018 @ 10:15am

    "The false matches were disproportionately of people of color, including six members of the Congressional Black Caucus, among them civil rights legend Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.)."

    Really? Looks to me like at least half appear to be white people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 10:24am

    How does this compare to humans?

    Too bad the ACLU didn't provide side-by-side comparisons. It's hard to judge this work without context. Amazon says they're 80% a congressperson matches a mugshot, but what result would we get from humans? Would 80% of them also say these two photos are the same person, if shown together? That would hint at a very different problem: that the software isn't buggy, but the entire idea of comparing huge datasets is flawed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 27 Jul 2018 @ 10:27am

      Re: How does this compare to humans?

      Are you saying that pictures of Congress persons aren't mugshots?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 9:49pm

      Re: How does this compare to humans?

      The ACLU in the last 40 years has been made up from those lawyers who were rejected from established firms or incapable of creating their own firms. They would like to make out like they are fighting for constitutional rights, but how many 2nd amendment cases have they taken on? Zero

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mike Shore (profile), 27 Jul 2018 @ 10:35am

    "80% confidence" is the new "beyond a reasonable doubt"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 10:38am

    Rep. John Lewis

    has been arrested 45 times. So, his inclusion may not be a false positive whatsoever.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    John Cressman, 27 Jul 2018 @ 10:40am

    I'd want answers too!

    I'd want answers too! When it says ONLY 28 of them are criminals, that's a terrible success ratio! THEY'RE ALL criminals!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 27 Jul 2018 @ 10:55am

    Nice Amazon!

    Tom Cruise made Minority Report to the screen, Amazon made Minority Report for real.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 11:14am

    So if they increase the confidence level from 80% to 95%, by my math that should reduce false positives by a factor of 4. That means that "only" about 7, instead of 28, representatives would have been identified as criminals. Or is my math wrong?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 11:57am

      Re:

      80% confidence level does not mean 2 out of 10 false positives. It could mean anywhere from 10 out of 10 false positives to 8 out of 10 false positives.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 1:03pm

        Re: Re:

        Huh? So a 95% confidence level would result in anywhere from 9.5 in 10 to 10 in 10 false positives? I think your mental math is incorrect.

        80% confidence means that for every "positive" there is a 20% chance that it's a "false positive". That, on average, is a 20% error rate or 2 in 10 false positives.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Rekrul, 27 Jul 2018 @ 3:40pm

      Re:

      So if they increase the confidence level from 80% to 95%, by my math that should reduce false positives by a factor of 4. That means that "only" about 7, instead of 28, representatives would have been identified as criminals. Or is my math wrong?

      No, the confidence level is what percentage of a person's face matches that of another photo. Think of it this way;

      If you were to tell a program to match words with 60% the same letters, it would match the words "Aloha" and "Alone", however if you increased the threshold to 80% or higher, the words would no longer match, because only 60% of the letters are the same.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 11:20am

    Government Jeopardy

    Congress Wants Answers after Amazon's Facial Recognition Software Says 28 Of Them Are Criminals

    Question: Why wasn't the number members of Congress identified as criminals much higher than 28?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Real dumb question, 27 Jul 2018 @ 11:24am

    Why wasn't Issa's mugshot picked up? He did have a conviction for ?auto theft? at one time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Shel10 (profile), 27 Jul 2018 @ 12:31pm

    Google Face Recognition

    If Google says it's so, then they are - Criminals. Consider how many run for Congress and claim that they don't have a high net worth. However, after 2 or 3 terms, they are some of the wealthiest people in the Country.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 27 Jul 2018 @ 2:46pm

      Re: Google Face Recognition

      1. Amazon, not Google.
      2. Yes, yes, the "lol everyone in Congress is a crook" joke has been made several times already in this thread. But no, not everyone in Congress is a wealthy crook. Raul Grijalva's net worth is estimated at under $300,000. That's not chump change, but it hardly makes him one of the wealthiest people in the country. It doesn't even make him one of the wealthiest people in Tucson.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 4:56pm

        Re: Re: Google Face Recognition

        But no, not everyone in Congress is a wealthy crook. Raul Grijalva's net worth is estimated at under $300,000.

        ...based on self-reported data. If one suspected Raul to be a crook, one might wish to check a different source of data.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 1:06pm

    I haven't read the comments, I'm sure this hasn't been said yet

    Only 28?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 1:07pm

      Re: I haven't read the comments, I'm sure this hasn't been said yet

      At least two or three times already.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 1:31pm

        Re: Re: I haven't read the comments, I'm sure this hasn't been said yet

        Reading others' comments before commenting is beyond the mental reach of some (read: a lot) of people.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Will B., 28 Jul 2018 @ 12:04pm

          Re: Re: Re: I haven't read the comments, I'm sure this hasn't been said yet

          Man, a whole lot of failing to see obvious jokes going around lately.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 1:07pm

    Say what you want about law enforcement having access to huge swaths of automatically curated video; I'm much more worried about Amazon having access to criminal records.

    At best Amazon uses it for advertising purposes (acquitted of manslaughter? Check out our Amazon Basics 22-piece kitchen knife set!) At worst people with the same name as felons can't shop online.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 27 Jul 2018 @ 1:17pm

    HOLD IT..

    If this was supposed to be used..
    And if anyone of US, was Identified..

    Lets put them in jail and send them to court, and have them PROVE they are NOT who we KNOW they are..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 1:32pm

    80% is enough...

    to convince most cops that someone is a criminal. 51% would probably do it for most cops.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 3:09pm

    While law enforcement would not be a receiver of lawsuits, Amazon surely would and this would be a huge liability for Amazon if anyone was falsely arrested by an officer using this system. This would result in one the largest class action lawsuits ever brought together.

    I'm sure that Amazon's CEO will be appearing in a congressional hearing over this once they learn of what happened.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 27 Jul 2018 @ 3:43pm

    Facial recognition software isn't 100% accurate? You mean NCIS lied to me?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 3:45pm

    28 seems kind of high. I'd have put the number of Congress who weren't criminals at under a dozen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 27 Jul 2018 @ 3:55pm

    Precognition, Phrenology and Politicans

    Congress Members Want Answers After Amazon's Facial Recognition Software Says 28 Of Them Are Criminals

    Mayhap Amazon's Facial Recognition Software also has a precognition feature built in and is able to discern which Congress Member will turn to a life of political crime in the future.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 3:55pm

    I'm guessing no one else noticed that only 25k publicly available mugshots were used.

    I feel pretty sure that there are way more that 25k mugshots that could be used even if only publicly available ones were all that LEO had access to.

    Makes you wonder how many would have been flagged if a larger set than 25k had been used.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    madasahatter (profile), 27 Jul 2018 @ 3:57pm

    That few, Amazon needs some more work.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Jul 2018 @ 9:34pm

    OMG

    In other news, certain congress members want to know why their house app doesn't correctly say their favorite urinal is open.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Jim P. (profile), 28 Jul 2018 @ 12:39pm

    False Identification

    Rather than a boon for freedom, this will end with the software being modified so sample pictures can be added and tagged to prevent them from coming up as possible suspects.

    Congress will gleefully carve an exemption for itself, and maybe judges, "senior" government officials and certain other "elite" just as they have done for TSA and other measures by passing a law requiring such processes be built in to any scanning systems.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 30 Jul 2018 @ 7:05am

    It's the training data

    It's all in the AI Training Data Sets.

    If you're training the system on mugshots, then what is it learning to recognize? Criminal types.

    So then everyone acts all surprised when it recognizes congress critters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 30 Jul 2018 @ 10:03am

      Criminal types

      If you're training the system on mugshots, then what is it learning to recognize? Criminal types.

      That assumes that those people who end up processed in the legal system are actually criminal. There's a lot of evidence that a significant number of arrests and convictions may be false. (We have no system to test it, and the current prison system is very resistant to challenges to convictions.)

      Though yes, it should belie any patterns of profiling that the police use in choosing their suspects.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 30 Jul 2018 @ 10:12am

      Re: It's the training data

      That joke is way funnier the seventh time!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Brian71, 30 Jul 2018 @ 8:58pm

    Amazon facial recognition

    Are we sure that it was a mistake???

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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