Representative John Lewis of Georgia and Representative Bobby L. Rush of Illinois are both Democrats, members of the Congressional Black Caucus and civil rights leaders.
But facial recognition technology made by Amazon, which is being used by some police departments and other organizations, incorrectly matched the lawmakers with people who had been charged with a crime, the American Civil Liberties Union reported on Thursday morning.
The errors emerged as part of a larger test in which the civil liberties group used Amazon’s facial software to compare the photos of all federal lawmakers against a database of 25,000 publicly available mug shots. In the test, the Amazon technology incorrectly matched 28 members of Congress with people who had been arrested, amounting to a 5 percent error rate among legislators.
The test disproportionally misidentified African-American and Latino members of Congress as the people in mug shots.
“This test confirms that facial recognition is flawed, biased and dangerous,” said Jacob Snow, a technology and civil liberties lawyer with the A.C.L.U. of Northern California.
On Thursday afternoon, three of the misidentified legislators — Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, Representative Luis V. Gutiérrez of Illinois and Representative Mark DeSaulnier of California, all Democrats — followed up with a letter to Jeff Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, saying there are “serious questions regarding whether Amazon should be selling its technology to law enforcement at this time.”