documents issued by a Freedom of Information Act from the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) show that the Amazon sales department was actively trying to provide the Homeland Security Investigation of the Department of Homeland Security (ICE) with the controversial face recognition system Rekognition. The pitch was part of a wider discussion of Amazon Web Services' offerings for ICE HSI, an offering of artificial intelligence and predictive analytics algorithms.
Amazon has provided cloud services to the DHS in the past, including US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). , USCIS uses Amazon Cloud storage to store data, including information related to alien registration numbers (A numbers) ̵
In a June 15 e-mail to a DHS recipient, Amazon Web Service's Federal Sales Manager for Homeland Security has a conversation about Amazon's Artificial Both Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technologies, which have occurred in Redwood City, California, consultancy McKinsey & Company offices. The company had an "Integrated Consulting Management Service" contract with ICE, which focused on "Development of ICE [Enforcement and Removal Operations’] Modernized Vision and Strategy".
Update, 14:30: An Amazon spokesman told Ars that Amazon "sponsored with a number of other technology companies in technology" boot camps "by McKinsey Company, where a number of technologies are being discussed As usual, we tracked customers who wanted to learn more about using our services ("Immigration and Customs Enforcement" was one of those organizations that had a debriefing session). "
In follow-up E -Mail, Homeland Security's sales representative for Amazon, said, "We are ready and willing to support the important HSI mission, and I hope the latest developments in our AI / ML suite have been of value." The Amazon representative then called "action items" from the conversation that might initiate a one-day "innovation workshop focused on a major HSI issue." The list also included the introduction of a deeper tech briefing on a range of AI and ML technologies, including:
- Core Skills and Predictive Analytics Usage Scenarios
- Elasticsearch as a Managed Service, [and] Road to an ATO [Authority to Operate]
- Neptune Graph Database Value, Use Cases, and Security
- Recognition video tagging / analysis, scalability, [and] custom object libraries
The action items mention an introduction to someone at USCIS to discuss that
Ironically The McKinsey meeting took place when McKinsey employees commented on the moral and ethical concerns surrounding the company's contract with ICE. A McKinsey contract with ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations Division ended in July.
In July, the Northern California American Civil Liberties Union published results of a test conducted with photos of congressional members and a public database of 25,000 arrest photos. A total of 28 members of the Congress, including six members of the Congressional Black Caucus, were marked as matches. The ACLU test followed a series of studies – including a March 2017 study by the US Government Accountability Office – that found unacceptable false alarm rates in facial recognition systems. A MIT Media Lab study found that facial recognition systems often misidentified persons with dark skin
Amazon disagreed with the results of the ACLU test and tried to calm DHS. In a follow-up email to the DHS contact, the Amazon sales manager sent a link to an Amazon blog post stating "[Dr. Matt Wood’s] ACLU comments, face recognition accuracy, and confidence levels might be of interest," if you continue efforts. "
In response to the disclosure, the ACLU has repeatedly reiterated its call for a" moratorium on the use of facial recognition technologies for the enforcement of immigration and law enforcement purposes to Congress and the public debate on what this technology actually uses should be allowed, "and announced a Freedom of Information Act request" urge the Department of Homeland Security to disclose to the public whether and how the agency uses or plans to use the technology. "
" ICE should not use face recognition for immigration or prosecution, "said ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel Neema Singh Guliani." The Congre ss has never approved such use, and should immediately take steps to ensure that federal authorities use the wheel of recognition for immigration or law enforcement purposes. "