19 Jun IBM ends all facial recognition business as CEO calls out bias and inequality
IBM CEO Arvind Krishna announced today that the company would no longer sell facial recognition services, calling for a “national dialogue” on whether it should be used at all. He also voiced support for a new bill aiming to reduce police violence and increase accountability.
In a letter reported by CNBC, written in support of the Justice in Policing Act introduced today, Krishna explains the company’s exit from the controversial business of facial identification as a service:
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 careful approach to developing and deploying the technology is not a new one: IBM last year emphasized it with a new database of face data that was more diverse than anything available at the time. After all, like any program, these systems are only as good as the information you feed into them.