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Amazon shares closed higher, Congress wants more Rekognition info

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Amazon shares closed higher in the US Friday as tech stocks bucked the weaker trend. Meanwhile, news Jeff Bezos’ business is working with law enforcement departments to test his tech giant’s facial recognition technology, has sparked a letter from Congress.

Two US congress members have sent a letter to the Amazon CEO requesting more information on how it is being used and how that use could affect laws on warrantless surveillance.

Amazon shares ended the US Friday session 0.44% higher at $1,610.15. The stock is in the red in quiet out-of-hours activity early on the bank holiday.

Amazon’s Rekognition

News last week revealed that at least two US law enforcement agencies – the Washing County Sherriff and Orlando Police Department – are using and testing Amazon’s Rekognition tech.

The ACLU raised questions over whether or not the facial recognition software in the hands of US police could be considered the first step into mass surveillance.

Now, two US Congressmen have raised similar questions over the situation and have sent a letter to Bezos asking 12 questions about it.

“I wish to know how many and which law enforcement agencies are using Rekognition,” the letter from Keith Ellison and Emanuel Cleaver, two US Congress members, begins.

“In an ever-evolving technological landscape, it is important that the Fourth and First Amendment rights of all people be protected,” it adds.

Questions facial recognition accuracy

Within the letter, which lists 12 questions that require answers by June 20th, the Congress members state their concern over the reliability and accuracy of facial recognition tech.

“A series of studies have shown that facial recognition technology is significantly less accurate in identifying the faces of African Americans and women as compared to Caucasians and men,” the letter reads.

“Facial recognition technology, when used in concert with wearable body camera technology by the police, raises significant Fourth Amendment concerns about warrantless surveillance,” the letter goes on before listing the 12 specific questions for Amazon to answer.

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