February 7, 2019
Amazon Cracks Down on Seller Fraud
Retail Giant Looks to Improve Customer Confidence
-In a bid to prevent fraudulent Amazon Sellers from setting up multiple accounts or simply registering a new Seller account once shut down, the online retail firm is adding an unusual new requirement to signup; five seconds of video from the camera on the device they’re using.
The identification process is already very in-depth, and the company’s penalty for failing verification is stringent; there are no re-applications.
The story came to light when an anonymous Amazon Seller in Vietnam asked what the purpose of the video might be on a Facebook group for Amazon Sellers. He reports he was not given the chance to refuse to submit the video. He also cannot find the video in his Seller profile and has found no way to remove it.
Speaking in response to MailOnline, an Amazon spokesperson said: “We always experiment with new ways to verify the information Sellers provide us in order to protect our store from bad actors. Seller identification information is securely stored and used only for identity verification.”
Evolving Recognition Technology
Amazon’s Rekognition technology, designed for facial recognition, is one of the bigger names in the growing market at the moment. The company also owns several patents on uses for the technology, including a patent for using facial recognition to verify online ordering, with the customer being asked to wink, smile, or similar facial expressions to confirm identity.
It has not yet been confirmed that Rekognition is the technology being used, but the company is already supplying Rekognition to US law enforcement agencies in Oregon and Florida.
Given the current conversation about learning algorithms needing wider data pools to learn from, this may also represent a chance for Amazon to significantly improve Rekognition’s performance.
A group of Amazon shareholders, organised by the corporate accountability non-profit Open Mic, filed an open letter requesting that Rekognition not be sold to government agencies, saying these sales “represent considerable risk for the company and investors.”
Amazon’s General Manager of Artificial Intelligence, Dr Matt Wood, argues “the evidence of the positive impact this new technology can provide is strong (and growing by the week), and we’re excited to continue to support our customers in its responsible use.”