IBM says it is withdrawing from the facial recognition industry for the sake of knowing how it can be used for mass surveillance and racial profiling.
A letter to US lawmakers Monday from new IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said the tech giant “has removed its facial recognition and facial analysis software products.”
Krishna was speaking to Democrats who were working on police reform legislation in Congress in response to the deaths of George Floyd and others in interactions with law enforcement that triggered a global toll of injustice racial. The broad package of reforms could include restrictions on the police’s use of facial recognition.
IBM previously tested its facial recognition software with the New York Police Service, but it is unclear whether it has existing contracts with other governments.
Police’s use of facial recognition has come under scrutiny after researchers uncovered racial and gender disparities in systems built by companies such as IBM, Microsoft and Amazon. This led to IBM and Microsoft improving their accuracy, but Krishna said the time has come to debate whether facial recognition technology should be used at all by national law enforcement authorities.
Krishna’s letter called for police reforms and said, “IBM strongly opposes and will not tolerate any use of any technology, including facial recognition technology offered by other vendors, for mass surveillance, racial profiling ”and human rights violations.
Full coverage: Technology
This comes as civil liberties advocates have raised broader concerns in recent weeks about the use of surveillance technology to monitor protesters or enforce rules to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Even before the protests, U.S. senators this year looked at New York’s facial recognition startup Clearview AI on privacy issues following investigation reports into its practice of collecting billions of photos from social media and other media. other Internet services to identify people.