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Congressman Tom Garrett

Representing the 5th District of Virginia

Garrett Crosses Party Lines to Express Concern over "Amazon Rekognition"

July 27, 2018
Press Release

PDF iconCongressional Letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Virginia Congressman Tom Garrett joined civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis, Rep. Jimmy Gomez, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in requesting a meeting with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to discuss the company’s facial recognition technology via a joint press release.

Earlier this week, the ACLU released its findings on Amazon’s “Rekognition” tool that misidentified 28 members of Congress with mugshots across the country, including Fifth District Congressman Tom Garrett. While this tool has been used primarily for everyday events, such as tracking celebrities at the Royal Wedding (as reported by USA Today), Amazon has also sold this product to law enforcement agencies.

Many across the country, including Members of Congress, have expressed great concern regarding the dangers of the use of such inaccurate technology by police agencies throughout the U.S.

In addressing the controversy surrounding Amazon Rekognition this week, Rep. Garrett stated:

“Modern technology is amazing and yields previously unthinkable possibilities, but where this technology may be imperfect or encroach on traditional expectations of privacy and due process, we must always err on the side of caution. That is the case here. This technology isn’t ready for prime time, and the risks to American’s basic liberties outweigh the benefits. I’m proud to stand alongside the ACLU and other champions of due process and civil liberties opposing the hurried imposition of potentially harmful technologies.”

As members of Congress from both sides of the aisle began collaborating on addressing this issue with Amazon, Garrett added:

“That is why today I have joined with my Congressional colleagues who share these concerns in calling on Jeff Bezos and the developers of Amazon Rekognition to confer with advocates and experts on civil liberties prior to introducing this technology into the marketplace or delivering it to law enforcement.”

The letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos may be read in full by clicking above.