The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts conducted a test of facial recognition technology to identify 188 New England athletes. The test misidentified 28, matching them to mugshots in the arrest photo database.
The facial recognition technology is called “Amazon Rekognition,” and was unveiled by the company in 2016.
“Amazon Rekognition is based on the same proven, highly scalable, deep learning technology,” states the website. “Developed by Amazon’s computer vision scientists to analyze billions of images and videos daily and requires no machine learning expertise to use.”
The test included official headshots of well-known athletes from the Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots and compared them with 20,000 public arrest photos.
“This technology is flawed,” said New England Patriots safety Duron Harmon, the New England Patriots safety who was one of the 28 misidentified. “If it misidentified me, my teammates, and other professional athletes in an experiment, imagine the real-life impact of false matches. This technology should not be used by the government without protections. Massachusetts should press pause on face surveillance technology.”
A similar test conducted last year by the ACLU of California misidentified 28 sitting members of Congress who were disproportionately people of color, including six members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
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