IBM Is Taking a Stand on Its Facial Profiling Technology

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Don't use our facial-profiling technology to infringe on human rights and freedoms. 

That is the clear message from International Business Machines  (IBM) - Get Report, which says it will no longer offer its facial recognition and analysis technology for general-purpose use amid concerns about how it is used to profile people along racial and ethnic lines.

In a letter to Congress, CEO Arvind Krishna said IBM "firmly opposes and will not condone uses of any [facial recognition] 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.”

The CEO added it was important to begin a national dialogue on "whether and how facial recognition technology should be employed by domestic law enforcement agencies.”

The move comes less than two weeks after the killing of George Floyd, whose death under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer has sparked widespread calls for change in how institutions and individuals deal with race in blatantly unequal fashion.

To be sure, IBM isn't the only company offering facial recognition technology that is being used in discriminatory ways.

Amazon.com (AMZN) - Get Report has come under fire from the American Civil Liberties Union as well as its own shareholders over its “Rekognition” facial recognition technology that was sold to the likes of ICE and police departments.

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