Skip to Content
Artificial intelligence

Democrats call for a review of face recognition tech

July 31, 2018

US lawmakers have asked the Government Accountability Office to examine how face recognition technology is being used by companies and law enforcement agencies.

The questioners: A group of Democrats from both the House of Representatives and the Senate sent a letter to the GAO asking to examine which agencies are using the technology, and what safeguards the industry has in place. Some form of government regulation could eventually be imposed.

Eye spies: There is growing concern that unfettered use of facial recognition could enable greater government surveillance and automate discrimination. Some companies also appear concerned. Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith, recently called for the tech to be regulated.

Oh, (big) brother: The ACLU recently trained Amazon’s Rekognition technology on a public data set of criminal mugshots, and found that it incorrectly identified 28 lawmakers as law breakers. Amazon maintains that the system was used incorrectly.

Bias baked in: A study published this year by Joy Buolamwini, a researcher at MIT, and Timnit Gebru, a postdoc at Microsoft, showed that the face recognition services offered by IBM and Microsoft were better able to recognize white men than women or minorities.

Deep Dive

Artificial intelligence

A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?

Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.

The viral AI avatar app Lensa undressed me—without my consent

My avatars were cartoonishly pornified, while my male colleagues got to be astronauts, explorers, and inventors.

Roomba testers feel misled after intimate images ended up on Facebook

An MIT Technology Review investigation recently revealed how images of a minor and a tester on the toilet ended up on social media. iRobot said it had consent to collect this kind of data from inside homes—but participants say otherwise.

How to spot AI-generated text

The internet is increasingly awash with text written by AI software. We need new tools to detect it.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.