AWS’ Michael Punke: Legislation Needed to Ensure Government Transparency in Facial Recognition Tech Utilization

Michael Punke, vice president of global public policy at Amazon Web Services, has said the company supports the call for a national legislative framework to ensure transparency in the use of facial recognition technology for law encorcement missions.

He wrote in a blog article posted Thursday the legislation is needed to address public concerns that using the technology might discriminate and violate individual civil rights.

Punke noted lawmakers should ensure that facial recognition tools comply with all laws, maintain human reviews of utilization and require a notice when video surveillance and facial recognition are used together in public or commercial spaces.

He added that law enforcement personnel should produce reports to provide information on how they apply facial recognition platforms and what measures have been implemented to protect civil and privacy rights.

AWS aims to continue work with other companies, agencies, academic institutions and community groups to tackle the matter because the company believes the technology "is an important, even critical, tool for business, government, and law enforcement use,” Plunke said.

He cited that previous tests of the company’s Amazon Rekognition tool showed that the technology could serve as a "valuable tool for improving accuracy and removing bias when compared to manual, human processes.”

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