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

This new data poisoning tool lets artists fight back against generative AI

The tool, called Nightshade, messes up training data in ways that could cause serious damage to image-generating AI models. 

Rogue superintelligence and merging with machines: Inside the mind of OpenAI’s chief scientist

An exclusive conversation with Ilya Sutskever on his fears for the future of AI and why they’ve made him change the focus of his life’s work.

Unpacking the hype around OpenAI’s rumored new Q* model

If OpenAI's new model can solve grade-school math, it could pave the way for more powerful systems.

Minds of machines: The great AI consciousness conundrum

Philosophers, cognitive scientists, and engineers are grappling with what it would take for AI to become conscious.

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 with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.