Amazon Tests Facial Recognition For Seller Verification

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


Amazon is testing an automated facial recognition program to "streamline" the seller verification process.

Amazon is testing a simplified experience for seller verification
This experience aims to maintain Amazon’s robust seller verification while offering a more convenient way to begin selling.

Today, we are starting to test a new, optional experience for prospective sellers that uses forgery detection, facial recognition, and liveness detection technology to quickly verify the authenticity of government-issued identity documents and whether they match the individual applying to sell in our store. Our test will determine whether we can achieve the same robustness of identity verification as our current processes while also providing a better experience for sellers who choose this verification process.

If a prospective seller opts into this experience, here’s how the test process works:

  • First, they’ll provide access to their device’s camera, and will be shown a series of steps in which images of their face and government-issued identity document are captured.
  • Next, the images are analyzed using machine learning models to create unique facial measurements called facial biometric data. This data is processed in real time to confirm that the prospective seller’s face matches the face on their government-issued identification document.
  • Once that process is complete, the prospective seller will see a pending verification page.
  • During the test, we will be manually reviewing the system’s decisions and verifying seller identities, and notifying prospective sellers of the decision within a few days. In the future, many of these decisions will be automated and communicated instantly.

The company describes this new process as simplified and more convenient, but will sellers trust Amazon to protect their biometric data?

As with everything we build on behalf of our selling partner community, we take the security and privacy of seller data very seriously, and we treat all in accordance with our long-standing policies. Here’s what we’re doing as part of this test:

  • The facial biometric data captured through this test will only be used in real time to verify a seller’s identity by determining whether 1) they’re a live person, and 2) whether their face matches the picture on their government-issued identification document.
  • The facial biometric data captured through this test will not be used for any purpose other than to verify a prospective seller’s identity.
  • The images captured through this test are encrypted both in transit and at rest.

The process is currently optional and only open to sellers in the US. Sellers who do not wish to volunteer for the test can still complete the identity verification step though the current process of an in-person video call.

It's interesting to note that Amazon has indefinitely extended a moratorium on allowing police agencies to use its AWS Rekognition facial recognition software.

Amazon extends moratorium on police use of facial recognition software Inc (AMZN.O)said on Tuesday it is extending until further notice a moratorium it imposed last year on police use of its facial recognition software.

Would you trust Amazon's AI facial recognition seller verification process? Let us know in the comments below!


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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!