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IBM quits facial recognition and joins call for police reforms

IBM quits facial recognition and joins call for police reforms
Posted at 9:12 AM, Jun 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-09 12:39:26-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- IBM says it is getting out of the facial recognition business over concern about how it can be used for mass surveillance and racial profiling.

A letter to U.S. lawmakers Monday from new IBM CEO Arvind Krishna said the tech giant “has sunset its general purpose facial recognition and analysis software products.”

Krishna’s letter called for police reforms and said “IBM firmly opposes and will not condone uses of any technology, including facial recognition technology offered by other vendors, for mass surveillance, racial profiling” and human rights violations.

Krishna was addressing Democrats who recently introduced police reform legislation in Congress in response to the death of George Floyd and others in law enforcement interactions that have sparked a worldwide reckoning over racial injustice.

IBM had previously tested its facial recognition software in New York City.

In the letter, Krishna also called for a “national dialogue” on whether and how facial recognition should be employed by domestic law enforcement agencies.

“Artificial Intelligence is a powerful tool that can help law enforcement keep citizens safe,” wrote Krishna. “But vendors and users of Al systems have a shared responsibility to ensure that Al is tested for bias, particularity when used in law enforcement, and that such bias testing is audited and reported.”