Facial recognition software identifies 28 members of Congress and 26 California legislators as criminals

Facial recognition software analyzes images of human faces for the purpose of identifying them. Unlike many other biometric systems, facial recognition can be used for general surveillance in combination with public video cameras, and it can be used in a passive way that doesn’t require the knowledge, consent, or participation of the subject.

Amazon is aggressively marketing its “Rekognition” facial recognition software to police, claiming that Rekognition can identify up to 100 faces in a single image, track people in real time through surveillance cameras, and scan footage from body cameras.

Last year, without any public debate, the Orlando, Florida police department began using Amazon Rekognition to compare people’s faces against a mugshot database. Reportedly, federal government agencies including ICE have also used the technology, culling through databases of driver’s licenses.

In July 2018, the ACLU tested Amazon’s “Rekognition” facial recognition software by using it to match members of Congress against a national database of 25,000 mugshots. The result was that Rekognition incorrectly identified 28 members of Congress as arrested criminals:

  • 3 senators:
    • John Isakson (R-Georgia)
    • Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts)
    • Pat Roberts (R-Kansas)
  • 25 representatives:
    • Sanford Bishop (D-Georgia)
    • George Butterfield (D-North Carolina)
    • Lacy Clay (D-Missouri)
    • Mark DeSaulnier (D-California)
    • Adriano Espaillat (D-New York)
    • Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona)
    • Thomas Garrett (R-Virginia)
    • Greg Gianforte (R-Montana)
    • Jimmy Gomez (D-California)
    • Raúl Grijalva (D-Arizona)
    • Luis Gutiérrez (D-Illinois)
    • Steve Knight (R-California)
    • Leonard Lance (R-New Jersey)
    • John Lewis (D-Georgia)
    • Frank LoBiondo (R-New Jersey)
    • David Loebsack (D-Iowa)
    • David McKinley (R-West Virginia)
    • John Moolenaar (R-Michigan)
    • Tom Reed (R-New York)
    • Bobby Rush (D-Illinois)
    • Norma Torres (D-California)
    • Marc Veasey (D-Texas)
    • Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio)
    • Steve Womack (R-Arkansas)
    • Lee Zeldin (R-New York)

According to the ACLU:

Academic research has also already shown that face recognition is less accurate for darker-skinned faces and women. Our results validate this concern: Nearly 40 percent of Rekognition’s false matches in our test were of people of color, even though they make up only 20 percent of Congress.

More recently, as reported by the Los Angeles Times on August 13, 2019, the ACLU discovered that Rekognition incorrectly identified 26 California legislators as criminals.

That prompted California Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) to author Assembly Bill 1215 to ban facial recognition software from being used on police body cameras. Ting said:

“The software clearly is not ready for use in a law enforcement capacity. These mistakes, we can kind of chuckle at it, but if you get arrested and it’s on your record, it can be hard to get housing, get a job. It has real impacts.”

I can already anticipate what FOTM readers will say: “Members of Congress and of California’s legislature actually are criminals. It’s just they haven’t been arrested yet.” LOL

~Eowyn

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Kevin J Lankford
Kevin J Lankford
11 months ago

We all ready know congress is full of criminals.

Lou Minati
Lou Minati
11 months ago

Clearly, this software is junk. If it worked properly, it would have identified ALL of Congress as criminals!

Kelleigh
Kelleigh
11 months ago

Well you can bet your bippy on one too many! Dang right!

DCG
Admin
DCG
11 months ago

This software sounds like a very dangerous and unproven tool. Shouldn’t be used anywhere.

Marlin Savage
Marlin Savage
11 months ago

Every politician should serve two terms: one in office and one in prison,,,,,,,,,,,

William
William
11 months ago
Reply to  Marlin Savage

No, they should skip the one in office and go directly to jail. They would do less damage there and actually learn some work skills like making license plates

Dan
Dan
11 months ago

“Nearly 40 percent of Rekognition’s false matches in our test were of people of color, even though they make up only 20 percent of Congress.”

Statistically, should the false matches of POC’s be compared with their numbers in Congress or with their percentage among felons?

Alma
Alma
11 months ago

I agree. The software must not be “that corrupted” when it helped identify the criminals we send to Washington, betcha is labeled Made in China.

William
William
11 months ago

Ed Markey, AOC’s GND sidekick, was correctly identified as a criminal. Loathsome commie POS makes my skin crawl

Steven Broiles
11 months ago

Let’s not foster any false hopes: The ACLU will NEVER be there when we need them. The ACLU is Satan’s sleeper cell of lawfare. Think: Anti-Christian Legalists Union.

These lawmakers won’t care, either: They’ll be in their redoubts once the mushroom cloud goes up….

Snailmailtrucker
Snailmailtrucker
11 months ago

“Facial recognition software identifies 28 members of Congress and 26 California legislators as criminals”

That’s all ? 90% of all Democrats are Criminals….

Actually 100% of them since they all Tried to Cover Up
The Awan Brothers/Debbie Wassermann Schultz Espionage Crimes !

Kevin
Kevin
11 months ago

That can only mean the facial recognition software is working perfectly. Actually I don’t think it identified enough of them as criminals.

Jackie Puppet
11 months ago

The two Illinois politicians are criminals.

Bobby Rush is a Black Panther, and Louise Gutierrez paid his wife & daughters over $400,000 from his campaign war chest. While not technically illegal, the dollar amounts are rather ridiculous.

Joe M
Joe M
11 months ago

Wow! I knew that they were working on it, but its’ accuracy is already proving absolutely SPOT ON!!!!!

Dave
Editor
11 months ago

LOL – What a shocker!

8675310
8675310
11 months ago

So! It DOES work!

YouKnowWho
YouKnowWho
11 months ago

At least the screw up is bi-partisan.

D3F1ANT
D3F1ANT
11 months ago

“Facial recognition software identifies 28 members of Congress and 26 California legislators as criminals”

THE SYSTEM WORKS!!