IBM Will No Longer Offer Or Develop Facial Recognition Software In Pursuit Of Racial Justice Reform - Forbes
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Thu Jun 11 05:53:29 PDT 2020
On 20-06-10 23:29:52, jim bell wrote:
> [Snip link]
> IBM Will No Longer Offer Or Develop Facial Recognition Software In
> Pursuit Of Racial Justice Reform - Forbes
Title: IBM, Amazon Agree to Step Back From Face Recognition. Where Is Microsoft?
Author: Matthew Guariglia
Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2020 18:08:42 -0700
Podcast Download URL: https://www.eff.org/files/banner_library/whyfacebanner.png
Activism is working. Both on the streets as people protest to end
racist and violent policing, and among civil liberties organizations who
have been fighting the government’s use of harmful face surveillance
technology. This week two major vendors of face surveillance technology
announced that in light of recent protests against police brutality and
racial injustice, they would be phasing out or pausing their sale of this
technology to police.
The fact that these two companies, IBM and Amazon, have admitted the harm
that this technology causes should be a red flag to lawmakers. The belief
that police and other government use of this technology can be responsibly
regulated is wrong. Congress, states, and cities should take this
momentary reprieve, during which police will not be able to acquire face
surveillance technology from two major companies, as an opportunity to ban
government use of the technology once and for all.
In a letter from Arvind Krishna to Congress, the IBM CEO announced that
in the name of racial justice the company would end research, development,
and sale of any face recognition technology:
> IBM firmly opposes and will not condone uses of any technology,
> including facial recognition technology offered by other vendors, for
> mass surveillance, racial profiling, violations of basic human rights
> and freedoms, or any purpose which is not consistent with our values and
> Principles of Trust and Transparency. We believe now is the time to
> begin a national dialogue on whether and how facial recognition
> technology should be employed by domestic law enforcement agencies.
This is a big pivot. In March 2019, IBM was criticized by photographers
after it released a new dataset of diverse images, scraped from social
media platform Flickr, in hopes of training face recognition programs to
be less flawed when recognizing people of color. Now the company
recognizes that better training data is not an effective solution to the
many problems of this menacing technology.
Amazon in turn announced a 1-year moratorium on police use of its face
surveillance technology, Rekognition. This company also cited recent
protests as the impetus of re-examining the harm this technology can do to
already over-policed communities. Unfortunately, Amazon still clings to
the discredited notion that police can safely deploy face surveillance
technology if only there are enough rules. “We’ve advocated,” the company
posted, “that governments should put in place stronger regulations to
govern the ethical use of facial recognition technology, and in recent
days, Congress appears ready to take on this challenge. We hope this
one-year moratorium might give Congress enough time to implement
appropriate rules, and we stand ready to help if requested.”
Amazon’s Rekognition program has been particularly flawed and harmful. In
2018, the ACLU ran faces of sitting U.S. congress members through the
program. Twenty-eight members of congress were incorrectly identified as
people who had been arrested for committing crimes. That same year EFF
joined with ACLU and a coalition of civil liberties organizations to
demand that Amazon stop powering government surveillance infrastructure
with its flawed and invasive Rekognition program.
While we welcome Amazon’s half-step, we urge the company to finish the
job. Like IBM, Amazon must permanently end its sale of this dangerous
technology to police departments.
Microsoft is another one of the largest vendors of police-used face
surveillance. It must now follow suit and end government use of its facial
recognition program. Microsoft has expressed concerns over harms police
use of face recognition can cause. In 2019, Microsoft stated that it
had denied one California law enforcement agency use of its face
recognition technology on body-worn cameras and car cameras, due to human
rights concerns. The logical next step is clear: Microsoft should end the
program once and for all.
There should be a nation-wide ban on government use of face surveillance.
Even if the technology were highly regulated, its use by the government
would continue to exacerbate a policing crisis in this nation that
disproportionately harms Black Americans, immigrants, the unhoused, and
other vulnerable populations. We agree that the government should act, and
are glad that Amazon is giving them a year to do so, but the outcome must
be an end to government use of this technology.
The movement to ban face recognition is gaining momentum. The historic
demonstrations of the past two weeks show that the public will not sit
idly by while tech companies enable and profit off of a system of
surveillance and policing that hurts so many.
Face recognition isn't the only problematic tool tech companies offer to
police. Though Amazon has pressed pause on offering Rekognition to police,
Amazon-owned Ring, the "smart doorbell" and camera company, still partners
with over 1300 police departments. These partnerships allow police to
make batch-requests for footage via email to every resident with a camera
within an area of interest to police—potentially giving police a one-step
process for requesting footage of protests to identify protestors. These
partnerships intensify suspicion, help police racially profile people, and
enable and perpetuate police harassment of Black Americans.
Join us in calling on Amazon to continue its thoughtful action in light of
nationwide activism, admit the dangers of Ring-police partnerships, and
immediately halt them.
TELL AMAZON RING: END POLICE PARTNERSHIPS
: <https://www.eff.org/aboutface> (link)
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