AP Article by Matt O’Brien: “IBM is getting out of the facial recognition business, saying it’s concerned about how the technology can be used for mass surveillance and racial profiling.
Ongoing protests responding to the death of George Floyd have sparked a broader reckoning over racial injustice and a closer look at the use of police technology to track demonstrators and monitor American neighborhoods.
IBM is one of several big tech firms that had earlier sought to improve the accuracy of their face-scanning software after research found racial and gender disparities. But its new CEO is now questioning whether it should be used by police at all.
“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,” wrote CEO Arvind Krishna in a letter sent Monday to U.S. lawmakers.
IBM’s decision to stop building and selling facial recognition software is unlikely to affect its bottom line, since the tech giant is increasingly focused on cloud computing while an array of lesser-known firms have cornered the market for government facial recognition contracts.
“But the symbolic nature of this is important,” said Mutale Nkonde, a research fellow at Harvard and Stanford universities who directs the nonprofit AI For the People.
Nkonde said IBM shutting down a business “under the guise of advancing anti-racist business practices” shows that it can be done and makes it “socially unacceptable for companies who tweet Black Lives Matter to do so while contracting with the police.”…(More)”.