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28 Jan 2019

Dr. Matt Wood, AWS Machine Learning Blog

Commentary: Thoughts on recent research paper and associated article on Amazon Rekognition

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A research paper and associated article published yesterday made claims about the accuracy of Amazon Rekognition... this research paper and article are misleading and draw false conclusions... The research paper seeks to “expose performance vulnerabilities in commercial facial recognition products,” but uses facial analysis as a proxy... [F]acial analysis and facial recognition are two separate tools; it is not possible to use facial analysis to match faces in the same way as you would in facial recognition... The research paper states that Amazon Rekognition provides low quality facial analysis results. This does not reflect our own extensive testing... The research papers implies that Amazon Rekognition is not improving, and that AWS is not interested in discussing issues around facial recognition. This is false. We are now on our fourth significant version update of Amazon Rekognition.

... We know that facial recognition technology, when used irresponsibly, has risks... It’s also why we clearly recommend in our documentation that facial recognition results should only be used in law enforcement when the results have confidence levels of at least 99%, and even then, only as one artifact of many in a human-driven decision.‎ But, we remain optimistic about the good this technology‎ will provide in society.

Part of the following timelines

Shareholders & civil society groups urge Amazon to halt sale of facial recognition software to law enforcement agencies

Facial analysis technology often recreates racial & gender bias, says expert