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Tom Reed, wanted man? Amazon's Rekognition falsely thought so

People who know the jovial, friendly-to-a-fault Rep. Tom Reed would never think that he would go by the nickname "Penitentiary Face."

But if you believe Amazon's facial recognition software, that might be a fitting moniker.

The American Civil Liberties Union recently did a test of Amazon's controversial facial recognition software, called "Rekognition," where head shots of members of Congress were cross-referenced with a criminal mugshot database.

The result? "Rekognition" falsely recognized 28 members of Congress as hardened criminals, including Reed, three U.S. senators and Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights hero from Georgia.

The test disproportionately singled out African-American and Latino lawmakers as criminals, even though they're not. And to the ACLU, this stands as proof that law enforcement agencies shouldn't use Amazon's flawed technology.

But Reed, a Republican from Corning with little hair, reacted to his case of mistaken identity with characteristic good humor.

“I just hope they were kind enough to match me to someone with hair," he said.

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