IBM steps back from facial recognition technology; to enact reforms to advance racial justice and combat systemic racism?

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IBM CEO Arvind Krishna called on Congress Monday to enact reforms to advance racial justice and combat systemic racism while announcing the company was getting out of the facial recognition business.

The decision for IBM to get out of the facial recognition business comes amid criticism of the technology, employed by multiple companies, for exhibiting racial and gender bias. Amazon’s own use of facial recognition was put to a shareholder vote last year, with 2.4 percent of shareholders voting in favor of banning the sale of the technology to government agencies amid privacy and civil rights concerns

“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,” Krishna wrote in the letter delivered to members of Congress late Monday.

“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.”




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